First Fifteen

Towering Pride (Genesis 11)

August 03, 2021 Ron Oltmanns Season 5 Episode 12
First Fifteen
Towering Pride (Genesis 11)
Show Notes

What's the tallest building you've ever seen up close?  In Genesis 11 there was a city and a people who decided to build a tower to heaven.  Why they did it and what it meant has a deeper meaning than just a story with a moral about towering pride.
In season five we're learning to listen to and pray Bible stories or narratives.  We started in the middle of the story at 1 Samuel 1-3 before turning to beginnings in Genesis.  In all the plot twists and different settings, with the growing list of characters we've seen that God is creating the world and shaping human destiny toward his ultimate purposes.  He meant for humans to rule over creation and fill the earth according to his goodness.  People from the beginning decided to go their own way, to make a name for themselves,  and that sad story gets repeated over and over through the generations with few exceptions.

In our podcast we take time to listen to God's word, reflect on it and then pray it back to God as well as carry that word with us through the rest of the day. 

The story of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9 is pretty distinctive.  It's the last story of the universal history in Genesis 1-11, and it's set between two genealogies in Genesis 10 and 11:10-26.  We need to be careful not to mis-read the story by missing the larger context.  After Noah and the flood, the action shifts to his three sons and their descendants.  No one individual is called out, but mankind shows their tendency to disregard God's will and to instead pursue what seems right and good to them. 

Three key terms or words in this story stand out:  "name" (shem in Hebrew, see 11:4 and 9), "scattered" (see 11:4, 8 and 9), and "all the land (or earth)" (kol eretz in Hebrew, used 5x in these verses).  The tower of Babel shows a people united in pursuing a human agenda that God opposes.  God ends up scattering the people and confusing their language into many tongues.  The story of Babel forms a clear contrast with the story of Abram that follows it starting in ch. 12.  

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