Focal passages: Genesis 11:1-9
Our passage this week hones in on Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel, so named because it was there that “the Lord confused the language of all the earth” (v. 9). Our wider context includes chapter 10 as well where we learn that Noah and his family were indeed obedient to God’s command to multiply. Just like Genesis 1 gives us an overall picture of creation and Genesis 2 focuses specifically on the creation of mankind, Genesis 10 gives us the genealogy of the descendants of Noah while Genesis 11 explains how they came to dwell in specific places with different languages.
In Genesis 11 we find that Noah’s descendants are united by a sinful purpose. They have congregated together to build a tower in direct disobedience to God’s command to fill the earth. They are trying to make a name for themselves while believing the same lie as Adam and Eve – that fulfillment can be found outside of God.
While they are building, verse five tells us that “the Lord came down” to review the construction of the tower. The verbiage used further emphasizes the futile efforts of the “children of man.”
God holds them accountable for their disobedience. As judgment, He scatters the rebellious people through confusion by giving them different languages. They in turn abandon their project and instead fulfill God’s purpose of spreading out across the earth. God reverses Babel in Acts 2 by bringing the nations together for the pouring out of His Spirit at Pentecost.
Even humanity’s best efforts cannot thwart His purposes. His will always prevails. It is His name that is uttered in the underground churches of China and in the mountains of Afghanistan despite the efforts of man to prevent it. It is the name of Christ – not any man’s – that is above every name.
There will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess His lordship. All of the
nations, tribes, peoples and languages that have been scattered will gather again before the throne of God and attribute glory to Him alone.