Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
CHRISTIAN PRESENCE IN THE NATION BUILDING
Genesis 11: 1-9
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; (Genesis 11:4)
The book of Genesis powerfully addresses the human situation and divine intervention as it provides an appropriate introduction to the whole Bible.
One of the most significant and overarching themes of this book and passage is that everything is designed and ordered according to the will of God. In the passage, the word Babel has its root in the Akkadian, Bab-ilani which means “gate of the gods”. In their foolishness and ignorance, as they built the Tower of Babel, the people could not comprehend that no matter how high they went they would not be nearer to God than when they stand on the ground.
Disobedience, denial of God’s purpose: In this passage, we find a people working in a concerted effort to rebel against God and defy His plan for humanity. In Genesis 9:1, God had blessed and commanded humanity to “…fill the earth”. Thus, it was God’s purpose that the people be scattered and multiply. However, their fear of being scattered propelled their construction of a city and tower (Gen 11:4) and in turn denied the divine purpose God had ordained. So, their sin was not in building the city rather, it was living in one city. Additionally, it was their misuse of unity to achieve power and insecurity which catalyzed a desire for social immortality (“…let us make a name for ourselves…”, Gen. 4:11) that furthered them down the path of disobedience and alienation from God. Let us remember that our relationships, actions and decisions should be founded on our faith in God; not governed by fear, emotional swings or desires for self-glory.
Diversity, restoration of divine vision: It is obvious from this passage that the very heart of the unity of the people is founded in their language, not in their relationship with God. Language, is not only a means of communication it represents the culture and ethos of the people. Although, this may have its significance, the focus had shifted to the preservation and perpetuation of their ideals (perhaps represented by the city) as opposed to God and His commission to fill the earth. That is, their culture and language had become supreme and God secondary. In the act of divine intervention, God institutes diverse languages which in turn reflect diverse cultural expressions where none is to be conceived as greater than the other. Therefore, we are called to be bonded by our differences and united through the ultimate language, the love of God, for Him and others. As such, diversity is not to be divisive and scattered is not to be understood as separate rather, component elements to the ultimate vision of God for humanity.
Prayer: O Lord God Almighty, help us to be a people of faith and not fear unified through your amazing love. Strengthen us to submit to Your divine purpose daily and follow after your vision in all of our experiences. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Rev. Jaisen A Thomas, Virginia