Day 6

The Tower of Babylon

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 11:1-32

My first year out of college, I got a job working for a musician I had idolized since I was in high school. I was thrilled to become his assistant, but being fresh out of school with little work experience, I often created more work for him than I relieved. After a short season, he firmly but graciously let me go.

I was so proud when I got that job, and so crushed when I lost it.

That was half my life ago. From where I sit today, I thank God for that incredibly difficult season of loss because I can see now that was God’s gracious way of not letting me find my identity in that job. God, in His kindness, thwarted me. Has God ever thwarted you?

The story of the Tower of Babylon, or Babel as it is often called, is the story of people who set out to make a name for themselves by building a tower to heaven. The metaphor is plain: if they could build for themselves a tower to God, they’d have no need of Him. So they got to work.

What did God do? He thwarted them. He took away their common language so they would no longer be able to work together to build their autonomy. And as a result, they put down their tools, walked away, and scattered over the face of the earth.

It is just like God to thwart people who attempt to make a name for themselves apart from Him. But when God scatters His people, it is not for the purpose of leaving us lost. The end of Genesis 11 shows us that God used this dispersal to spin His people forward. As the people scattered, a man named Terah took his family, including his son Abram, from Ur to Haran, where Abram would later hear God’s call to set out for the Promised Land.

Notice the arc of the story here. God scatters people who conspire to obtain autonomy from Him, and then He leads them back to a place where He will be their God and they will be His people. This is the Gospel in a nutshell.

There was a greater, glorious undoing of the scattering of Babel in Acts 2, where, during Pentecost, the people of God came together from every tribe and nation, and understood one another in a common tongue. What united them? Their dependence upon the finished work of Christ.

When God thwarts our attempts to gain independence from Him, it is always a mercy. Where in your life have you seen God thwart you for the sake of saving you from yourself?

Written By Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (21)

21 thoughts on "The Tower of Babylon"

  1. Jared Dills says:

    We often lose sight of God and are at the mercy of his redirection and correction in our lives.

  2. Jared Dills says:

    Lord, help me to follow you with all my heart. Tear down any tower of babel’s in my life.

    Thank you for provision and protection from myself.

  3. Jared Dills says:

    God is so gracious and loving. While we have selfish desires to be god of our lives, he corrects us and saves us from our own destruction.

    While we were still sinners Christ died for us.

    God works all things for the good of those who love him.

  4. Jared Dills says:

    God is so loving and patient with us. As we make poor choices, he provides for us.

    He knew how wayward we would be, yet he provided his own son for us.

  5. Christopher says:

    Man is fickle and quick to deny it’s creator and opt for a route that seems more free or simpler when I’m reality doing things without God is the hard and foolish way.

  6. Christopher says:

    Men are cruel and deny God. Yet God still loved us enough to send His only son to His death so that we wouldn’t have to bear the pain and punishment of sin.

  7. Christopher says:

    Remember the people of Babel today and how when they tried to accomplish things on their own, God thwarted them justly.

  8. Christopher says:

    God is the ultimate authority and should be feared and respected. A little under a year ago I was laid off from my job. I was emotionally a wreck. But as just and unafraid to thwart as God is. He will also take care of you. God took care of me and I had a job before my last day at work and shortly after that I got an even better job than the one I had been laid off from.

  9. Jeremy Hill says:

    God may be doing something we don’t want or understand but He is all knowing and has a plan.

  10. Jeremy Hill says:

    Man is sinful and wants to do everything his own way and not with God’s help.

  11. Nathan says:

    The truth keeps us on track. When we feel lost or burdened, do we get on our knees and pray? Or do we try to figure something out on our own? The Bible has every answer to every problem out there. You have to look and see for yourself.

  12. Nathan says:

    God has a plan for everyone. Whether it’s taking away things that we have picked up, or tearing us down from our selfish satisfactions. He doesn’t do this so that we may have pain and hurt. He does this so that you will be prepared for what he’s calling you to do next.

  13. Nathan says:

    Man likes to have selfish motives and goals. When God comes into play, they either pretend that it’s “okay” with God, or they just don’t pay any attention to him at all. People don’t like things being taken from them. They would rather hold onto something that seems so special to them, rather than walking in their call of God. People are selfish, and they feel better when they’re in control. But God knows what he’s doing, and he won’t ever run away from you. He’s there whether you like it, or not.

  14. Nathan says:

    I will open myself up to God and listen to his guidance. Wherever he leads me I will trust in him. I will overcome my selfishness and become someone new.

  15. Nathan says:

    Lord guide me in your path and in your will. Help me to overcome my selfish motives and to be open to you. When I fail or fall into selfishness help me pick myself back up again. Help me have faith in your plan for me. Thank you Jesus. You’re amazing. Amen.

  16. Jared Rich says:

    May I always be found in you. In your glory. In Your truth. May I not be self seeking or boasting in who I am. May I always be seeking your kingdom. Keep me in your arms o God. I want to lean on you in everything. You are my king. I love you.

  17. Felix says:

    We were never meant to live independently of God, that would mean to live without Him. The believer should never have a split life, where man wants God involved in some areas and not the others. If we would cease our resistance in all areas of life we would save ourselves a great deal of trouble for a double-minded man, is unstable in all his ways.

  18. Felix says:

    God is unpredictable, He will do things we might find questionable but they are beneficial for us. They are acts of God that disrupt our lives in many ways. But God does not fear “the mess” that He makes and it would do us some good to realize it is not a mess at all but a readjustment. And God will do anything in our lives, He sees fit, to keep us dependent upon Him. Less we perish in our own ways.

  19. Felix says:

    Trusting God through the mess

  20. Felix says:

    By Jesus’ sacrifice we are brought together as one people once more. Where language is a boundary broken by the Holy Ghost, by love, and by one common goal which is to share the gospel of Christ. For There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

  21. Felix says:

    Give me patience and the wisdom to make the right steps in life from now on.

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