Our church is loving the Gospel Project Chronological! Just six weeks in and all ages are learning so much and uniting together through discussion and application. Amazing to watch.
In this week’s session, we see humanity’s propensity for inventing ways to build up our own prestige and bring honor to ourselves. As we build our kingdoms and lift up our own name, God sees our plans. He judges our attempts to increase our power, and in His judgment of our idolatrous desires, He shows mercy by slowing the spread of evil. And after he saves us, He gives us the mission of scattering throughout the world to praise the name of His Son.
The narrative of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture because how it ties to the grand narrative of God’s glory among the nations.
Here are some of my notes from this week:
- This tower is not intended to reach God but to replace God.
- Gen. 1-11 reveals a pattern of negative incident following positive: 1) Goodness of God’s creation (Gen. 1) > rejection of God’s goodness (Gen. 3), 2) Mercy displayed (Gen. 3:21) and long life given (Gen. 5) > continual evil (Gen. 6:5), and 3) covenant with Noah (Gen. 9:9) > migration from God (Gen. 11:2).
- Aware they were disobeying God (Gen. 9:1; Gen. 11:4), they neglected to consult with God but turned to each other.
- The people “migrated from the east” (Gen. 11:2) which was turning their back on the sunrise. Ultimately, they were drifting away from the presence of God (cf. Gen. 3:24; Gen. 4:16).
- They people were desirous to stay in same location and disregard Gen. 9:1.
- Human attempts to achieve divine glory will always fall pathetically short.
- They desired to take God’s rightful place in the heavens (cf. Gen. 3:5; Is. 14:13; Ps. 115:3).
- God must humble himself to see man’s extravagance (Gen. 11:5).
- The highest structure that man can build is only high enough that God still has to stoop down to behold it (cf. Ps. 113:4-6).
- The greatest towers I can construct are mere ant-hills to the Almighty.
- God still shows grace by confusing speech and slowing the spread of sin (Gen. 11:7) when he could have just blown up the tower and everyone in it.
- Pentecost (Acts 2) is the reversal as God comes down and brings the people back together to share the gospel in a language they can understand.
- Heaven is the ultimate reversal (Rev. 7:9-10; Rev. 21:2; Rev. 22:2).
- God’s redemptive mission is the focus between the dispersing of the nations (Gen. 11:9) and the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).
- Babel (“gate of God”) is eventually known as Babylon. Babylon is always trying to obtain a worth it does not deserve (Gen. 11; Dan. 3; Is. 47:8-13; Rev. 17-18).
- While the people try to make their name great (Gen. 11:4), God is preparing to make Abram’s name great (Gen. 12:2).
- Any attempt to make someone great outside of the Great One’s doing will always end badly.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.