October 17, 2019
Last night we spent our time in Genesis 11 taking a closer look at the events of the Tower of Babel. In short, we’ve looked at the fall of mankind the past couple of weeks, and God’s mercy in preserving Noah and his family despite the thoughts of man being only evil continually (Gen. 6). In Genesis 9, God re-commissions Noah as the new Adam and gives him the same commands to “fill the earth and subdue it.” Sadly, Noah get’s drunk in the very next section of the text, and Noah’s son defiles him, proving that sin is an infection that continues on in the world.
Just like before the flood, human sinfulness culminates in God taking action. This time, it’s at the tower of Babel. In Genesis 11 we’re told that humanity has gathered together and built a tower to reach to the heavens that their name might be known. There are a couple things we noted here: that mankind completely disregards God’s commands to fill the earth and subdue it, and that mankind once again tries to become like God. We saw these themes in the garden, and we still see them at the tower of Babel. In response, God comes down to see their “tower to the heavens.” This is IRONIC! Their tower is so small that God has to come down to see it! Because of their rebellion against His commands, God knows that it is best if He confuses their languages and spreads the people throughout the earth.
We talked for a little while about why it was best for God to take this action. Although sin and disobedience still reign in the hearts of men, God does not destroy them like in the flood. Instead, because He knows the good purposes He created mankind for, He graciously spreads them out so that they have the opportunity to live out the life that will ultimately be best for them. This led to some helpful application as we looked at how God has plans for us that don’t always line up with our thoughts of what’s best. He tells us that it’s good to love our enemies, to give to beggars, and to pursue holiness, even when we don’t feel like that’s best for us. We’re called to trust Him in the fact that He knows what is good for us.
Here’s some questions that would be helpful to ask your students in follow up:
- How were the people at Babel disobedient to the commands of God? Why do you think they were disobedient?
- How did you see God be merciful in the episode of the tower of Babel?
- What are the ways in which you struggle to follow God’s commands for you life? Why do you think you struggle in that way?
- How do you know that you can trust “God’s way” is better than “your way?”