Building our Towers of Babel

So our youth group at Grace Church Fremont called the Rock! embarked as of 1/1/2010 on a journey through the entire Bible within 1 year.  We are planning periodic parties to continue to encourage people to read their Word, but what most amazed me was that we were expecting a handful of kids, and we ended up getting 18-20 kids, and young adults joining in on this commitment (talk about the Lord opens the floodgates).  So now, I have a copy of this 1 year Bible in my bathroom (where I love to read) and I have made that my time each day to spend reading the daily readings.  I tend not to share anything, but will try to do so when a particular reading really captures my imagination.

Today’s OT segment covered the story about the Tower of Babel:

Genesis 11

The Tower of Babel

1Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

Great story in the Bible, and as I read it, I was really horrified at the statement in verse 4, and had been pondering it all day.  Well, it’s funny how God works because I’m reading another book for Seminary, and in it, the author really spoke to me in his words about Genesis 11:

“In the secularized public educational system, we are literally conditioned to become builders of Babel instead of shapers of the kingdom of God.  Everything around us tells us to work on an individual ‘tower with its top in the heavens, and… make a name for ourselves’ through professional success (Gen. 11:4).  The divided condition of American life, as we work frantically to build millions of dynastic towers, may be preferable to merging all these competing power centers in one great secular Babel, as Communists have tried to do.  But it creates a force field of individualism which affects the church, where empire building shatters catholic (def. for your sake: universal) unity and creates waste and chaos.  With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, humanity can be unified in the Messianic kingdom without the danger of building Babel.  But it often seems that the church is as divided as any other institution in our society.  Its leaders often conform to the world, concentrating on success and reputation at the expense of the health of the whole body of Christ” (Richard Lovelace, Renewal as a Way of Life, 60).

On another page, I wrote more notes on the matter, but essentially the point is that the problem of many of our faiths is that it is based on our individuality as Christians and not the compassion kingdom oriented perspective that God has for the people of this world (our neighbors).  Lovelace follows with this most powerful poignant statement:

“The result has been that instead of ordering careers, families, businesses, and governments around God’s purposes, we have, at best, tried to talk about Jesus to others while investing our main energy in pursuing the same things as the world: survival, security and wealth.  The church is seen as an enclave of spirituality apart from the struggle for worldly success.  It is a restricted sphere in which God is permitted to rule; outside, we run things.  No wonder the kingdom is largely invisible to Jewish observers – it stops at the boundaries of Christian church buildings” (Lovelace, 57).

Our faith is not bound in simply the walls of the Church, but in the entirety of our lives in this world.  We are Christ followers, and our lives should revolve around that profound and deep foundational truth that is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If that’s the case, then something amazingly unique should be reflected in the lives of the Christian.  We can not be simply about our personal pursuits, but something about our lives needs to manifest that glory of God so that it brings attention to Him and not us.

Think about it.  Are you building your Tower of Babel? or are you furthering God’s Kingdom?

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