Reading 4

In Genesis 1:28, we read God’s blessing to Adam and Eve, saying, 28 … “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

But after Man’s collective rebellion against God led to the judgement of the Flood, as God said, the earth was filled with violence. God preserved mankind, through Noah and his family, by have them build an great ark.  The waters receded, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, and after God had them all leave the ark, in Genesis 9:1, we read, God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  And again in v.7, God reiterates, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” 

Right from the creation of Man, God’s command was to be fruitful and populate the earth, the entire earth.  There is no such thing as overpopulation, the amount of people are not the problem.  We can take responsibility for the mismanagement of the elements of creation that God has given us to steward, and we can take blame for not disbursing, but not for having too many children.   

So, now we come to Genesis 11 

11:1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same wordsThis is to say that they had not yet separated at all.  There we no differences in language, no difference in slang, and very likely, no difference in accent or culture.  The whole earth had one language and the same words.  And as they migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  The entirety of the world’s population settled in a single place, Shinar.  

Notice the unity.  Same language, same manner of speaking, all happily living together.  The problem was that they were not in obedience to God.

 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

So, in short, they’re all unified in their rebellion against God.  Instead of filling the earth, they decide to stay and build a city.  Instead of remaining faithful to God in worship, they decide to build a tower to heaven, very likely a high-rise temple.  In their pride they are determined to make a name for themselves.  Consider that, to whom do they want to make a name for themselves?  They consist of all the people on the earth.  There are only God, angels, devils, and themselves.  It seems that, like Lucifer, they wish to make a name for themselves in competition with God.  And they wish to maintain this unity against God, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”  They knew God’s command to fill the earth, to disperse, but they thought, like Eve, they would be better off in opposition to God’s command, in opposition to God Himself.   All the people of the earth are unified, but the object of their unity is rebellion against God.  

 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

We don’t know all of what they proposed to do, Scripture leaves much of that out.  But what we do know, is that in sinful unity against God, they had a much greater potential for evil, and because of God’s mercy, He protected them from themselves.   

So, God said, Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the cityTherefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. 

Just as God intended in the first placed, the people would now be dispersed and fill the earth, but without having the blessing of shared language.  

Remember how the people wanted to make a name for themselves?  They wanted to be great.  Genesis 12:1–3, 12:1 Now the Lordsaid to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessingI will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

God has not forgotten about His promised plan of redemption.  The Savior of the world would come through the line of Abraham, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed.   

The people of earth were all unified in their sin, and God came down to disperse them, because of the evil they would be able to achieve.  

In John 17, Jesus calls His people to unity in Him, unity in the Father.  

What could we accomplish for God’s glory, for God’s Kingdom, if we were truly unified in Christ, unified in the mission He has given His Church? 

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~ by James M. Winslow on 2022/03/09.

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