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Genesis 11:1-9 - Our name or God's name?

You were created to multiply God's image over the entire creation. (Note: we skipped chapter 10 and the rest of 11, unless you like reading massive lists of impossible to pronounce names...)


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Genesis 11 Summary

  • v1-4 - Rather than scatter out over the whole earth, the descendants of Noah congregate together and decide to build a city.

  • v5-8 - God frustrates their efforts by dividing them into different languages, forcing the people to go in different directions.


Dig Deeper


At first it may seem odd that God was upset with the efforts of the people to build their new city with a tall tower. After all, we've built thousands of cities with buildings far taller than what this tower likely was.

In order to understand the problem God has with these people, we must understand the primary purpose God has for mankind.


God gave Adam a very simple mandate: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it." Noah was given the exact same command using slightly different words when he exited the ark: "Be fruitful and increase in number, multiply on the earth and increase upon it."


Compare these instructions with the rationale these people had for building their city, which is given in verse 4. Let's look at their second reason they gave first. They began building so that they would

not be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.

This is exactly the opposite of what God had commanded man to do!



Yet it's the first reason they give that's the most egregious:

Let us make a name for ourselves.

As image bearers of God, our job is actually the opposite of this. We're not to make a name for ourselves, rather, we're to glorify God as we work in His world!


When we understand the self idolatry that motivated the construction of Babel, we can see that God confusing their language wasn't an act of spite, rather it was His grace spreading the people out so that they would not invoke God's wrath again as they did before the flood.




AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose discipline is evidence of His grace;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will glorify God's name and not your own.

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

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