September 11, 2017
Genesis 11:1, 2, 4, 6-8
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The greatest loss of life was when two jet liners were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center! 2,606 lives were lost (the count varies with the reporting media), and thousands were injured! Our lives have not been the same since! Among the many changes, security at airports, government facilities, and public places have greatly increased; laws have been passed; and we are much more aware of possible terrorists arriving through immigration. We will forever remember this horrible event – even as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his speech the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked:
Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy — the United
States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
forces of the Empire of Japan.
September 11th, 2001 is also “…a date which will live in infamy….”!
I remember that my wife and I were visiting our daughter who lived about 25 miles south of Washington DC. That Tuesday at about 11 AM we were heading home, and on I-95 north we ran into a major traffic jam. Due to our ‘goodbyes’ with our daughter and family, we had not heard any news that morning. So with traffic stopped, I turned on the radio to hear, “The twin towers have fallen!” It took us more than two hours to navigate north to I-495 and around to the west of the nation’s capital!
But this was not The first Fallen Tower! Another world-shaking event took place thousands of years ago – recorded in Genesis 11. Due to space I have edited the account to verses 1, 2, 4, and 6 through 8:
Now the whole earth had one language….And it came to pass, as they
journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar,
and they dwelt there. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a
city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for
ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
…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 pro-
pose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there
confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s
speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face
of all the earth….
This is the record of the Tower of Babel – mankind’s first concerted recorded effort to defy God after the great flood of Noah! (See Genesis chapters 6-8). How did they defy God?
• Genesis 9:1 – “So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’ ” But notice in our featured Scripture that the people who were supposed to fill the earth by spreading out and occupying it, had their own ideas in opposition to the LORD: “Come, let us build ourselves a city…and make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4). The ‘ourselves’ and ‘we’ in this verse suggest that they had the same ‘I-trouble’ that Lucifer had when he rebelled against God’s authority and fell from grace, becoming the devil! (See Isaiah 14:12-15). ‘I-trouble’ is selfishness – putting yourself before God! And that is the root of all sin!
• The Tower of Babel they started to build is often wrongly interpreted to be a structure so high that its “…top is in the heavens…” (Genesis 11:4). But it was more like a pyramid-type ziggurat. It was a religious building constructed so that from the top the priests/ astronomers/astrologers could worship/observe the heavens to predict and/or control events. The Tower of Babel was a journey by man into gross idolatry! This is one reason why I call it The Fallen Tower! The building of it came directly out of the fallen sinful nature of man!
By the way, the city and empire of Babylon derives its name from the Tower of Babel. And Babylon has long been associated in the Bible with society in rebellion against God! (See Revelation 17:1-6, 18; 18:1-19:2).
• By confusing the languages, the LORD accomplished three things:
✡ God reduced the conglomerate learning, knowledge, skills, and communication among the whole population!
▸ Think of it – perhaps the architect of the tower was in one resultant language group while the brick-layers were in another. They could no longer understand one another!
▸ Another scenerio – the physicians skilled in healing various diseases were in one group, and those afflicted with those diseases in another. How could they communicate? It is recorded in Genesis 10:24 that “To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided….” This is a reference to the confusion of languages at Babel! Born before the confusion of languages, Peleg‘s father Eber lived a total of 464 years! (See Genesis 11:16, 17). Peleg’s life span was basically cut in half – to 239 years! Why? Probably because health and medical knowledge could no longer be communicated with the larger populace!
▸ Mankind was, in effect, set back into the dark ages – because they were using their vast composite knowledge to accomplish greater and greater works of sin against God!
✡ Genesis 11:8 – “…they ceased building the city…” and the Tower of Babel, because they could no longer understand each other outside the smaller groups. So God put and end to this major idolatrous attempt!
✡ After God confused the languages, the people naturally were drawn to those others who only could understand them. And these smaller groups then went their separate ways. So the LORD accomplished what the people had refused to do – as it says in Genesis 11:9: “…from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”
So learn from The Fallen Tower! Don’t mess with God! Go it His way! And His way starts with what Jesus prayed in John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”