I can relate to the Tower of Babel. Not the tower itself, but the Babel part of it.
My mother was one of eight children, which made for a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins. Then she had eight children, which made for a lot of siblings. And finally, I had six kids. So, you can imagine, when we all got together for family reunions, all three generations with all the spouses and children, and everybody speaking at once, babble was pretty much the sound of the day.
But what’s going on in the story of the Tower of Babel, inserted like a parenthetical between the list of Shem’s sons and the generations of Shem? Let’s take a quick look at the Scriptures.
In Genesis 10:1 we read, “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. And unto them were sons born after the flood.” Then, skipping the genealogy and reading verses 8-10, we read, “And Cush [son of Ham] begat Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord, wherefore it is said, ‘Even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneth in the land of Shinar [Babylonia].”
Now, with that background, let’s skip to Chapter 11 and see what God tells us about Babel, the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom.
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they [the descendants of Noah] journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar [Babylonia] and dwelt there. And they said one to another, “Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone and slime had they for mortar. And they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built, and the Lord said, “Behold, the people are one and they have all one language, and this they begin to do. And now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, and they left off to build the city.
I think we can safely conclude that God wasn’t worried that Nimrod and his followers were going to build a tower that would reach to heaven. (Of course, over the next billion or so years, the tower will be created – oops, didn’t mean to use the “c” word – will accidentally occur through hap and circumstance, with no need for a designer. After all, don’t the evolutionists claim that anything is possible, given enough time? The fact that God has now revealed enough of his creation to scientists to prove that our universe’s complexity, from macro to micro, demands a designer, the fact that our almighty God has made the wise foolish, does not change the minds of the evolutionists, whose little grey cells are super glued to Darwin’s hundred-year-old theory. Those lost souls just “know” that they descended from ape-like creatures. It’s true, the more complex they discover creation to be, the more years they have to add to our past in order to have enough time elapsed to make their claims believable. It was millions of years, now billions, and, should Jesus tarry, one day trillions. But why shouldn’t the age of the earth coincide with the size of our national debt? Talk about nightmares. But I digress.)
Confounding the language was a judgment, but judgment with a purpose. God wanted the people to scatter and replenish the earth. Chapter 9 tells us, “Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth, and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”
It wasn’t the tower itself God objected to as much as the intent of the people, the reason they built it. In their pride they decided to build their own city, make a name for themselves, worship as they saw fit, reach for the stars, so to speak. That wasn’t in God’s plan.
When we, today, pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” we aren’t praying for that to happen. We are acknowledging that it is foretold and a certainty, and we are asking that it come soon. But, until that day comes, let us walk humbly in God’s will. For, like it or not, God’s will rules. If we let our pride prevail and determine our actions, as the people did at Babel, we’re risking the judgment of God.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 118:105. Words to live by.