Meanderings of a Minister


How Is Your Tower Doing?
January 8, 2015, 11:09 am
Filed under: Articles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

bruegel-tower-babel

In the book of Genesis, we read about an interesting event that took place.  Okay, so we read about a number of interesting events in the book of Genesis.  The specific event I am referring to is the Tower of Babel.

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1–9, NASB95)

No doubt, if you have grown up around the Bible or church, you have read this story many times.  In fact, you may have even been told this story as a means of explaining the difference between those who speak a different language from you when a child.  But what were the inhabitants of Babel really doing?

God had told the people to spread out over the entire earth and subdue it.

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:28, NASB95)

The inhabitants of Babel decided they had a better idea.  They would build a city (meaning walls to protect them and close them in) and a tower that would reach up to the heavens as a means of showing people their might and further protecting them from having to be scattered abroad.  In other words, God had given them a mission, but they preferred their comfort.  God had given them a mandate, but they preferred their ease.  They simply did not want to do what God had told them.  Shame on them!  Right?

Before we settle too far into shaming them, we might want to look at the New Testament and ourselves in the mirror.  The last thing Jesus told His disciples before the ascension was:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, NASB95)

This sounds very close to subdue the earth.  Many of us, however, would rather sit within the comfort of our churches and enjoy our ease and comfort.  With now less than 2% of self-claimed Christians sharing their faith, and the average Christian giving less than 2% of their income to the Church and its cause of sharing the gospel, are we not just as guilty?  We have our excuses, but we are basically doing what the folks at Babel did.  God judged them with knocking down their tower and scattering them anyway.  Might we want to get serious about the Great Commission before He comes knocking again?

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