The Book of Genesis

week 17

Chapter 11:1-26


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note: all scripture is from the NKJV unless noted otherwise


Gen 11:1-3 1 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 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. 3 Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.

Shinar = "country of two rivers" The ancient name for the territory later known as Babylonia or Chaldea
The tower of Babel was built where the two rivers were. These two rivers could very well be the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which is right in the middle of Iraq.
Remember we talked about Shinar last week and how it was the kingdom of Nimrod.

Gen 10:8-10 8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. ' 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

In the KJV it speaks of "asphalt" as slime or another word would be pitch, remember that from the ark.

Gen 6:14 "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

So this must have been a very watertight tower or structure.
Maybe they forgot about God's promise and where afraid that a flood would come again to destroy the earth, so they were building protection. And what was God's promise?

Gen 9:11-13 11 "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 12 And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

But as we read on, it seems they not only forgotten God's promise, but they also forgot about God Himself.

Gen 11:4 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."

The NLT gives us a better idea of what they were thinking about.

Gen 11:4 (NLT) Let's build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies--a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world."

"A monument to our greatness." Doesn't this sound just like the world today?
Everybody wants to be noticed for doing something great. I think it's a sin trait most people have, or it's so placed in our minds it's hard to get rid of even as Christians.
You may say, "I don't have that problem", but if you think about it you really do.
We want to be noticed by our spouses, our children, and friends. At work we want to be seen for what a good job we do.
We even want God to see how great we are and what a good job we are doing for Him.
But we seem to forget that the only reason we can do such a good job (so we think in our eyes) is because God has given us the ability to do it. Remember the study we did on the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit gives gifts to us to do the work we do for the Lord.
So to burst your bubble, without God you can do nothing.

Also notice that they thought that by working together they would grow closer together and it would build a bond between them.
When there are disasters, people work together to get their city or town back in order, even on Christmas people seem to work together and are more united. But like everything (except Gods word) it all passes away and we so quickly forget about it, and our neighbors, and continue as nothing happened.
The only bond that holds people together is the bonding by the Lord.

1 Cor 12:12-14 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

We also talked about this verse in the Holy Spirit study. We are all a part of the body of Christ. We shouldn't be loaners or think we don't need the church. We as a church are not complete with one part missing or even working properly.

1 Cor 12:14-20 (NLT) 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 Suppose the whole body were an eye--then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? 18 But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it. 19 What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.

Not all can be Billy Graham's or Chuck Smith's. But we all play a very important part in the body. And if one part is hurting, it affects the whole body.
Have you ever hit your finger with a hammer? Not only does your finger feel it, but also the tingling pain goes throughout your whole body.
So it is with the body of Christ. When one is hurting the whole body feels the effect of it.
But on the other hand, if one is rejoicing the whole body should be rejoicing also.

1 Cor 12:25-26 (NLT) 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

And finally there is a third thing. If a part of the body is not working properly it also affect the whole body.
Have you ever had your foot fall asleep? What happens when you try to walk on it? It's very difficult to the point that your whole body has to compensate because one part of the body is not working and just sleeping.
So it is with us as a body, if someone is not doing the work the Lord has given him/her to do then the rest of the body has to compensate for the sleeping or lazy member.

Back to Genesis.

Gen 11:5-9 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 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. 7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 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.

Reading verse 5 you would think that God didn't know what was going on, so He came to check it out. But that's not the case here, it was more of God examining their work, and more so the work of their hearts.

6 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.

The people were not only building a tower, but also were almost making themselves out to be gods and forgetting about the one and only true God.
God was not against them working together, just as we just saw that God wants us to work together as one body.
But God knew man, and when he accomplishes something good in his mind, then he feels he's invincible. But Jesus said:

John 15:3-6 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Apart from God we can do nothing, and that's just what they were trying to do, do something apart from God.
Remember back in verse 4 they thought they could be powerful without God.

Gen 11:4 (NLT) Let's build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies--a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world."

1 John 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

The men were practicing all of 1 John 16. Which was also the same thing that started sin in the garden.

First off the lust of the flesh in verse 4 let us make a name for ourselves, desiring to be a powerful people.

Second the lust of the eyes And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; something they could see to demonstrate their self proclaimed greatness

Finally the pride of life a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world." Pride at it's fullest, desiring to be great and forgetting that we are but just dust, and the only reason we are alive is because God Himself made us from that dust and breathed life into each one of us with His own breath.

7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 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.

Or in the NLT it reads.

Gen 11:7-9 (NLT) 7 Come, let's go down and give them different languages. Then they won't be able to understand each other." 8 In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the earth; and that ended the building of the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because it was there that the LORD confused the people by giving them many languages, thus scattering them across the earth.

What a perfect way of stopping people from doing something. But then it's God, so it's always perfect.

But think about it, if you were having a house built and had about 30 guys working on the house and each one spoke a different language so they couldn't communicate with one another, they would become so frustrated that they would just stop.
But then think even more about this. What if a house had never been built before and this was the first house to ever be built, how much more frustrating would that be?
Or let's say we all wanted to build a nuclear reactor, but we all spoke a different language and could only understand the language we were speaking. The reactor would be stopped right in its tracks never to be built.

Verse 8 "the Lord scattered them" they didn't just leave but it was God that did it.
God gets blamed for so many things, hunger, murder, and poverty. "Why doesn't God do something about this", or "How could a loving God allow this to happen?"
I think the question should be is "why do we as Christians allow and support these kind of things"?
We watch their movies, buy their books, and allow them to build their bars and clubs and even sometimes go into them just to have a little harmless fun.
If there is sin around, you can be sure to find a Christian around supporting it in some way or another.
Maybe you think I am being a little to legalistic.
Think of these things;
First off, I heard a Christian musician say, "If my 13 year old daughter is not allowed to do it, then I shouldn't be doing it". Just because we are older does not give us a license to sin. When the ratings say "R" the world say's its OK if you're over 17, but that doesn't make it right in Gods standards no matter what your age.

Second I heard pastor John Courson say that the youth come up to him saying, "Our parents get theses movies to watch that are PG13 or even R rated. They pop popcorn and call it family movie night, when we don't want to be exposed to theses things because they are against God."
What are we exposing our children to? No matter what the rating is, even some G ratings are full of witchcraft or sorcery and violence, which we say is OK because the world says it is with a G rating.
We date and put or our hands all over each other, making out and when we do we are saying to our kids it's OK.
Now you have gone a little too far Steve.
Have I?
If it's not OK for your 13 year old to do it, why is OK for you to do it?
I haven't gone to far, We as Christians have gone too far allowing the world to say how far we can go regardless of what God says.
Who is your God, the world or the God of the Bible?
Who is your Lord or who has control over your thoughts and the way you live your life?

Phil 4:8-9 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

If this were you talking, would you be able to say verse 9 "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" to your children or your family or the people you work with?

9 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

Babel or Babylon = "confusion (by mixing)"

Babel is not just confusion but confusion by mixing and in this case by mixing the language of the people.
Last week we saw how the different nationalities came about, and here we see that God went further and gave each type of nationality their own language.
We as Americans want to have every one speak the same language, but God confused the language for a purpose so we shouldn't want to change what God has done. If we do then we are becoming people who want to build a tower and become our own gods.

Gen 11:10-26 10 This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood. 11 After he begot Arphaxad, Shem lived five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. 12 Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Salah. 13 After he begot Salah, Arphaxad lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.14 Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber. 15 After he begot Eber, Salah lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. 16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg. 17 After he begot Peleg, Eber lived four hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters. 18 Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu. 19 After he begot Reu, Peleg lived two hundred and nine years, and begot sons and daughters. 20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and begot Serug. 21 After he begot Serug, Reu lived two hundred and seven years, and begot sons and daughters. 22 Serug lived thirty years, and begot Nahor. 23 After he begot Nahor, Serug lived two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. 24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and begot Terah. 25 After he begot Terah, Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years, and begot sons and daughters. 26 Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

And this is where we will end. Next week we will start looking at Abraham, But at this time his name was Abram. And we will learn later why his name was changed along with his wife's name, which was Sarai.


If it's not OK for your 13 year old to sin;

Why is it OK for you?



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