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Table of Nations and the Tower of Babel - Gen 10-11 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Tsang   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 09:53

 

In the middle of the genealogies that we find in Genesis, we come across this well-known story of the Tower of Babel. This past week, Thomas helped us to make sense of these ancient stories and see the timeless truths in them.

 

Genealogies were important to the ancients. Having children was a key way of survival and one particular question was, “Which one of the offspring will receive the family blessing?” We could say that one of the major threads that hold Genesis together is the genealogical accounts. Who will be the seed of the woman that will crush the head of the serpent? (Gen 3:15) Genealogies also remind us that we are part of a long lineage of the people of God.

 

The person who does not know their history is not a human being, but a naked ape, floating through the vacuum of space.

Novelist Jostein Gaader

 

 

God’s creation mandate was for humanity to go and fill the earth but what we see in Gen 11 is humans refusing to obey this mandate. They were afraid of being scattered over the face of the whole earth so instead, they gathered together to build a city with a tower that will reach to the heavens. They wanted to make a name for themselves. (Gen 11:2-4). This is the post-flood humans; acting out of fear, pride, and self-preservation. But the Lord (Gen 11:5) interrupted their plans and scattered them. In an act of grace, God restrained their collective evil ways.

 

This story leads us to consider how our fears motivate us to build towers to make our own names great. In the next story in Genesis, we learn how to trust God to make our name great. As well, we need to consider how our God loves diversity whereas we often strive to make things uniform. There is room for all. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost brought people together and on that final day, there will be multitudes from every nation, tribe, people, and language before the throne.

 

Peace and grace, John

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 December 2017 10:14