"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 23, 2009
After the flood in Genesis destroyed the earth, it was up to Noah's three sons and their wives to once again repopulate the earth. In chapter 10, it tells the genealogy of the sons of Noah, and which nation each went and built. It seems as if each were responsible to go and rebuild the different areas.
I'm not sure how many hundreds of years passed between the time of the flood and chapter 11. But verse one says, "Now the whole earth had one language and one speech." There weren't the different dialects and languages that distinguish one nation and culture from another, as we know it today. No matter where you traveled, everyone spoke the same language.
Regardless of how many years had passed, it was enough where evil was beginning to fill the hearts of man and they had apparently forgotten about God destroying their ancestors with the flood.
They gathered on a plain in Shinar and decided to make bricks and mortar out of which to build themselves a city. That was fine, but they then went one step too far. They also made plans to build a tower whose top would reach the heavens, in order to make a name for themselves.
This sin of the people was their desire to dominate the world, and their own destiny apart from God through man-centered accomplishments. This purpose was based on pride and rebellion against God.
Verse 5 says, "But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built."
"And the Lord said, 'Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there and confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.'"
The Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
"Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth." (verse 9)
This explains the diversity of race and language in the world. God destroyed their efforts by multiplying languages so that some could no longer communicate with others.
Babel means, "A confused noise; typically made by a number of voices. A scene of noisy confusion."
We have heard the term used describing someone as "babbling". This means they were talking rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited or incomprehensible way. It also means someone uttering something rapidly or incoherently. What that person is saying is beyond understanding and makes little or no sense whatsoever.
I believe that when God came down and confounded the languages, this is what took place. All of a sudden, what the person next to you was saying sounded utterly foolish and incomprehensible. It made no sense and there was no understanding of what they were trying to say. I'm sure there was great pandemonium and chaos.
After the flood, God set the rainbow in the clouds as a token of His covenant between Him and the earth. When He sees it, He remembers His covenant that water shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Rainbows can be very beautiful. But when I see them I occasionally remember God's purpose in creating them. It's a reminder to Him of His covenant to not destroy the earth as He did in the days of Noah. When God looks down and sees the sinful hearts and actions of mankind, does He need that reminder? I think He does, or else He would not have created it or spoken those words.
I wrote last week about the flood and God saying that He was sorry that He had ever created mankind. With the exception of Noah's family, He completely destroyed mankind off the face of the earth. Was He hoping that man would look back and remember the flood and realize there were consequences for their evil? Was He giving them a second chance?
Yet man didn't learn their lesson very well. Time went by and they began doing evil once again. They began to devise ways in which they could dominate the world and be greater than God.
But once again, God came down and punished their wickedness. He confused their language and scattered the people all over the face of the earth.
It's easy to look at this story and the story of the flood and think, "Well, I'm no where nearly as evil as those people were! I don't deserve God's judgment or punishment. I'm basically a good person and would never do real evil."
What we can't seem to get a real grasp on is that God declares sin as being sin. We don't like to feel condemned or convicted, so we tend to categorize sin. We want to think that we're good people doing the best we possibly can, so we try to justify our sin. But that's not biblical.
God declares that doing anything that goes against Him and His word is sin. He very vividly says that unless we confess our sins and believe that Jesus died for our sins, then turn away from those sins and accept the gift of salvation, that we are still living in our sins and will be punished. There is only one way to God, and only one way to heaven. We must repent of our sin and ask for Jesus to come into our heart and forgive us. Unless we do so, then we will perish right along-side those who are murderers, robbers, drug dealers, cult leaders, etc.
I don't believe that every single person that lived in the days of Noah or that were at the building of the tower of Babel were vile, heartless sinners. Yes, a lot of men and women were. But I think there were those who tolerated the evil and did nothing to stop it. They grew accustomed to the vile evil and sinful practices and saw no wrong in it; even though they may not have practiced the idol worship or witchcraft or rituals themselves. They saw no need to repent and turn from their sin. They were comfortable with the world as it was and had no desire to change.
That is the mindset of so many in our world today. They are comfortable and tolerant of the sin that surrounds them every day. Evil and sinful practices no longer bother them or make them feel convicted. They may not participate themselves, but it doesn't dishearten or sadden them when they see others do so.
The day will come when God's judgement will once again come upon mankind. The choices we make will determine whether or not we escape His wrath and judgement. The day will come when we will all be required to stand before God and answer for our actions, both good and bad.
I know that there are times when I have grow too accustomed and comfortable with the sin surrounding me. I see sinful actions and it doesn't really bother me. I don't want my heart to ever be so tolerant of sin that I find myself sliding into behaviors and actions that go against God.
May we each search our hearts and realize that there are consequences to sin. And may we pray for the world around us that mankind will realize their need for God and turn from their wicked ways and repent.
As I read The Bible, I usually try to relate the histories to modern time. But that's especially difficult with the Tower of Babel. I've seen, and even worked in many tall buildings that were likely five or ten times as tall as the one they were building. So why hasn't God defeated them? It occurs to me that earthquakes tend to limit how tall buildings get. But that doesn't really seem to fit.
I think it's more a matter of intent. We don't really build those tall buildings to reach up to God or to get up to His level. We build them for commerce, pride in our cities, and other reasons.
So, how does the story relate today? Even though we don't construct towers to reach up to God, we often do other things for the same reason. We may follow all the customs of a church; we may tithe regularly; or we may hang out with the 'right' crowd. But if it's without Jesus, it doesn't amount to much.
20 whole large jalapenos
1 lb. shredded cheese
1 lb. uncooked sausage
1 cup Bisquick
Split one side of jalapenos and remove seeds. Stuff inside of peppers with cheese. Mix sausage and Bisquick together. Pat out thin and wrap around each jalapeno pepper. Place in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Dip in honey mustard or ranch dressing.
I've found that some of the old sayings I grew up hearing has somehow got lost in translation over the years.
A while back my nephew put a message on facebook that he was getting ready to go to church. His mom later wrote a comment that they must be having a good service at his church because she had not seen hide nor hair of him since he left that morning. He answered back, "I think you mean hear." I answered back and explained to him that no, she meant that she had not seen hide nor hair of him; meaning that she had not seen his hide nor his hair (which meant she had not seen any sign of him whatsoever). I told him that was an old saying. He replied, "This is 2009, how was I supposed to know what that meant?!" My sister then commented that we were trying to expand his brain power and teach him new (or in this case old) things.
He who is slow to wrath has great understanding; but he who is impulsive exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29
We hope you all are having an enjoyable summer.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon