In Remembrance of Me
Gen. 11:1-9 1. Aim: To explain how the people were scattered at the tower of Babel and this is how languages began, and some lessons we can learn from this event. 2. Genesis 11:1-9 3. The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings or origins. a. We've seen the origin of man. - Creation b. We've seen the origin of sin. - Adam and Eve c. We've seen the origins of the geography of the earth explained in the flood. 4. This is the first major event in the Bible since Noah’s ark and the flood. 5. “What are the origins of the different nations of the earth and the various languages?” 6. This is the question answered in the story of the tower of Babel
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Gen. 9:1 1. After the flood, Noah and his family begin repopulating the earth. 2. Gen. 9:1 God commanded Noah and his family to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth?” 3. Genesis 10:32 says, “These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.” 4. the tower of Babel wasn't built until 100 or so years after the flood. “These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.” Gen. 10:32
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” Gen. 11:1 Language of the People “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” Gen. 11:1 The Language of the People 1. Gen. 11:1 “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” 2. We're told that these people all spoke the same language and that they were all together in the same place. 3. It is believed that the language that these people spoke was Hebrew. 4. The Bible, however, doesn't specifically tell us what the language was that they spoke, only that they spoke the same language. 5. They continued to speak the same language because they continued to remain together as a group. 6. God's command to Noah and his sons was to replenish the earth. This they were not doing. 7. Had they dispersed like God had intended them to do, they probably would have developed different languages. 8. Since, however, they were together, their single language continued.
Place of the Tower of Babel The Place of the Tower of Babel 1. Gen. 11:2 “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.” 2. We are told that the ark landed on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4). 3. This would be in modern day eastern Turkey north of Iraq. 4. From here Noah and his family moved to the south and southwest, or as Genesis 11:2 says they came from the east. 5. They would be most interested in valleys and plains where crops could easily grow. 6. The Tigris river is southeast of the mountains of Ararat. 7. The Euphrates is west of the Tigris. 8. This was in the neighborhood of what would later be known as Babylon. 9. The plain (as 11:2 says) was fertile due to the river running through it and provided ample space for a people to locate. 10. This is where they intended to permanently settle. Place of the Tower of Babel “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.” Gen. 11:2
Plans for the Tower of Babel The Plans for the Tower of Babel 1. It was the purpose of the people not merely to stop in this area for a while, but to settle here permanently. 2. Gen. 11:3 “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.” 3. This is evident from what we are told about their building materials. 4. The area was not abundant in large stones and so they needed to construct housing. So, they baked bricks. 5. To hold them together, they used asphalt. It made for a type of cement to hold the bricks together. 6. With these materials, they could build permanent houses and a city in which they could all live. Plans for the Tower of Babel “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.” Gen.11:3
Plans for the Tower of Babel “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.” Gen. 11:4 In addition to the housing and city, they proposed to build a tower. 1. “And they said, “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.” Gen. 11:4 2. Why did they build a tower? 3. “Some suppose it was intended to prevent the effects of another flood, by affording an asylum to the builders and their families in case of another flood.” 4. This was for the purpose of making a name for themselves so that they would not be dispersed in the earth. 5. Again, it was not God's plan for them to do this. They were supposed to disperse throughout the earth.
God’s Punishment for the People “But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 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.” Gen. 11:5-6 God's Punishment for the People 1. Genesis 11:5-6 “But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 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.” 2. God noted that the people were unified in one place and with one language. 3. It wasn't that God had a problem with their being unified, but with their being unified for the purposes they had in mind. 4. They were working against God's plan, not for it. And being unified as they were, God's concern was that there wouldn't be anything that they wouldn't do. 5. This is what is meant by “Nothing that they propose to do will be witheld from them.” I.E. They won't be thwarted in any of their plans even if they are against the will of God. 6. In other words, they would soon come to consider that there was nothing that ought not to be done. 7. The punishment that God levied upon them fit their situation.
God’s Punishment for the People “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.” Gen. 11:7 1. Gen. 11:7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.” 2. They had failed to obey God's command to replenish the earth, so God would now carry out His will among the people 3. He did so by changing their languages so that not everyone spoke the same language any more. 4. We get the picture that not just two, but several languages came as a result. 5. With these new languages, those who communicated with each other would separate and develop their own communities in other places.
God Dispersed Them “So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.” Gen. 11:8 We should also note that God dispersed them. 1. “So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.” Gen. 11:8 2. The language change was a miracle of the mind. 3. The dispersion was a result of the language change.
“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.” Gen. 11:9 1. Gen. 11:9 “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.” 2. The bottom line is that God's purposes were now fulfilled. 3. This is how the different nations and languages of the world came about.
II. DID THIS REALLY HAPPEN? A. Did this incident have its basis in actual history?
Deny that this is actual history “nonsensical” legend = atheist “Child-like” “story-answer” = mockers “symbolism” - way of explaining tongues 1. Skeptics answer negatively and openly scoff at the account. 2. One atheist has classified this narrative as a “nonsensical” legend. 3. He further declares: “It is highly unlikely that the human inhabitants of the whole earth have ever spoken only one language” B. The approach of religious modernism is not much better. 1. Bowie sees the account as a “child-like” “story-answer” characterized by “symbolism,” which was simply primitive man’s way of explaining the origin of different human tongues 2. The fact is, however, there is absolutely no valid reason for questioning the reliability of the biblical narrative—and for the following reasons:
Tongues can be traced to a common source: Max F. Muller - “Science of Language” “We have examined all possible forms of language, …the admission of one common origin of human speech?” YES Sir William Jones - speaking of Sanskrit “…believing them to have sprung from some common source which no longer exists” C. Reasons for believing the account of the Tower of Babel 1. Human tongues can be traced to a common source: a. Max F. Muller (1823-1900) was one of the world’s foremost comparative Philologists = one who studies ancient languages and observes their similarities and differences. He taught at Oxford University. In his book, Science of Language, the professor wrote: “We have examined all possible forms which language can assume, and we now ask, can we reconcile with these three distinct forms, the admission of one common origin of human speech? I answer decidedly, Yes” b. Sanskrit was the ancient and classical language of India. Sir William Jones (1746-1794), was an accomplished scholar in this language, and in 1786 he wrote: The Sanskrit language, whatever may be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure; more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either; yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could have been produced by accident; so strong that no one could examine all three without believing them to have sprung from some common source which no longer exists
Journalists using computers Linguistic scientists - compare languages A mother tongue - “proto-world” “Maybe the Bible is right, and there really was a Tower of Babel. It seems there really was once a single human language,…” 1. Interestingly, secular journalists recently discussed the work of certain linguistic scientists who, using computers to compare languages, say that there is indeed be a mother tongue, which they are calling “proto-World.” One writer went so far as to say: “Maybe the Bible is right, and there really was a Tower of Babel. It seems there really was once a single human language, before we were all cursed with a confusion of tongues” (Dyer 1990). 2. (CLICK) The Bible account of the tower of Babel and the confusion of the tongues is given to us by inspiration. Therefore we believe it.
Lessons #1 Problem of Sin “For all have sinned” Rom. 3:23 Sin is the constant problem of man “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Heb. 13:16 Lessons from the Tower of Babel 1. Where people exist, the problem of sin will also exist. a. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned…” b. Sin is the constant problem of man. We must seek not to sin, but to do good. c. Hebrews 13:16 says, “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Why they didn’t want to separate? Lessons #2 God’s will is to be obeyed regardless Why they didn’t want to separate? Loved families Wanted to be a great people Wanted the easy life Make a name for themselves “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” Heb. 5:9 #2 God's will is to be obeyed regardless of circumstances. 1. I don't know why they didn't initially want to separate. a. Perhaps they loved their families. Perhaps they wanted to be a great people. b. Perhaps they wanted the easy life. c. They eventually came to want to “make a name” for themselves. d. Whatever the reason, God's will was not obeyed. 2. Hebrews 5:9 says that God saves those who obey Him. “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”
Lessons #3 Problem of Pride People became very confident Nothing they could not do Wanted to make a name for themselves Maybe God would not separate them Rom. 12:3 “….not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…..” #3 Pride will always cause us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. 1. The people together were very confident. 2. They didn't think that there was anything they couldn't do. 3. They wanted to make a name for themselves. 4. Perhaps they thought that if they did such, then God wouldn't separate them. 5. Pride causes us to behave in ways that we normally would not. 6. Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
Lessons #4 Sin Is Off Limits “Ought we to do it?” “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col. 3:17 God’s plans will not be defeated ! #4 We ought not to think that there is nothing that we can't do – sin is off limits. 1. Certainly, regarding good things, we have no law against such (Galatians 5:23). 2. However, sometimes we need to ask not “Can we do it? but “Ought we to do it.” 3. We may advance far in our society in knowledge so that we can do a lot of different things. 4. But we need to ask, “Ought we to do them?” 5. Man's actions need certain limitations if they are going to be orderly and pleasing to God. 6. Colossians 3:17 says do all things by the authority of Christ. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” 7. God's plans will not be defeated a. God had a plan for man's salvation through Jesus. b. This would unfold according to God's wisdom. c. Man's “wisdom” and plans threatened to undo God's plan for man's salvation. d. So here, God miraculously intervened.
Lessons #5 No Society can undo God’s Will Many have tried Where are those societies now? A society that opposes God is not a society that will exist for long. #5 No society is so great that it can undo God's will. 1. Many societies have, in the past, tried to ignore God's will. 2. It has only been to their detriment. 3. Where is Babylon? The Roman Empire? Greece? Persia? 4. What about Sodom and Gomorrha? 5. What ancient cultures and societies that opposed God are still around today? 6. A society that opposes God is not a society that will exist for long. 7. This is why we are so concerned with America today and the direction it has taken
Lessons #6 God’s Punishments are Just Punished for what they would not do. Changed their language Dispersed the people This is what God wanted all along. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Gen. 18:25 #6 God's punishments are just 1. God's punishment for the people was to give them what they wouldn't do. 2. By changing their languages, the people dispersed. 3. This was what God wanted all along. 4. This was a just punishment and reasonable 5. The Judge of all the earth does right! Genesis 18:25 “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”
Lessons True in every relationship Marriage Family Workplace Church #7 Good Communication is the Key to Goals True in every relationship Marriage Family Workplace Church “If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matt. 18:15 #7 Good communication is the key to working together toward a goal. 1. Oh, how we need this lesson! This is true in every relationship. 2. In the marriage relationship, each spouse has to communicate with the other so that things will work out. 3. In the family relationship, parents must communicate with their children and vice versa; 4. In dealing with our Christian brethren, we must learn how to communicate with them if we are to effectively work toward the goal of heaven - Mt. 18:15 “If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”
Lessons Was God unaware of what they were doing? No! He knew #8 Men’s projects are small compared to God Was God unaware of what they were doing? No! He knew Moses was using satire “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.” Ps. 127:1 #8 No matter how ‘big’ men’s projects are to them, they are small and insignificant to God 1. Was God unaware of what these men were doing because verse 5 says that He came down to see the city and tower they had built? 2. No. He knew all along what they were doing; but Moses uses a bit of satire (i.e. ridicule used to expose folly) to express this point: These men were so impressed with their tower—it was huge and would be doted over by men for generations to come they thought, but to God, it was so small that He had to ‘come down’ to even see it. 3. I am reminded of Psalms 127:1 here. “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.” 4. All their work on the city and tower did them no good, because they ended up moving away from there anyway.
Languages Lessons History 1. We've seen in our study… a. The history of the Tower of Babel. b. We've also learned the origins of nations and languages on the earth. c. Some lessons from the Tower of Babel. 2. God caused these events to happen for His purposes and reasons. a. God wanted mankind to scatter and populate the earth b. Man wanted to stay there in one place. c. God intervened to scatter man over the entire earth. 3. I'm thankful that He did so that His plan could unfold for man's salvation.
“Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mk. 16:15 1. New Testament situation is similar. a. God gave the early church the commission to go into all the world with the gospel. b. They were content to stay in Jerusalem c. God scattered the early Christians. How? Acts 8:1-4 d. The persecution scattered them into all the world e. Acts 8:4 “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 8:4
Hear John 12:48 Believe John 8:24 Repent Luke 13:3 Confess Matt. 10:32-33 Baptized Mark 16:16 Faithful Matt. 24:13