Theme of the Week: Genesis
Bible Verse: Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. . . . So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. Genesis 11:1, 8
Scripture Reading: Genesis 11:1-32
That fast-forward thing again. Noah has followed the path of his ancestors. He was indeed righteous, but he was not the one who would crush the serpent’s head. But he does manage to refill the world with people as he was commanded to. In Genesis 10, we read of his descendants and wonder, could one of them be the promised one?
In chapter eleven, we are confronted with the reality that though the population has grown, it has not “filled the earth.” Rather than following God’s instructions to spread around the globe, humanity has gathered in one place. It seems that humans are predisposed, perhaps doomed to make the wrong choices.
The construction project at Babel is truly impressive. The cooperation that humanity achieves highlights that what God said way back at the beginning was easily true. We were to take creation and develop its potential to realize what it, and we, could be. Babel is the demonstration that what God said we could do, we were in fact capable of. But, like Adam and Eve, like Noah, the industrious engineers decided to do things their own way.
So God steps in again. This time, His actions are directed toward accomplishing what He had tasked humanity with—spreading out over the earth. While gifting us with the beauty of language and culture, God led humanity to the ends of the earth.
The question here isn’t: what can humans do? It is: what will they choose to do outside of God? The problem with Babel isn’t that they were building a tower. It is that they were trying to get rid of their dependence on God. Babel was human independence. God’s entire program was asking humans to choose Him. That was the question in the garden, it was the question after the flood, it was the question at Babel. It is the question today. Will we trust God and choose Him?
Prayer: God, I know that all too often I follow my ancestors in choosing myself over you, trusting my own judgment rather than believing in your goodness. Forgive me for my selfish choices. Thank you that you do not give up on us.
Reflection: How does Babel remind you of your shortcomings? When do you try to leave God out of the equation with your endeavors, even the good ones?
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