[Lesson 15: Noah & the Faithfulness of God] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 17: Review of "The Beginning"]

Lesson 16

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 10, 11

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

In our last program we concluded our study of God's prophet, Noah. We saw how God purposed to wipe out the children of Adam with a flood because of their wickedness. For a hundred years God gave sinners time to repent while Noah constructed the ark which would be a refuge for those who believed the word of God. Still, no one turned from his or her sin or believed the message of the Lord God, except Noah and his family. Thus, in the end, God, who is righteous and faithful, did just as He had promised. He wiped out everyone who did not pass through the door of the ark, and saved those few who did.

Today we will continue in the book of Genesis and learn what happened in the period following the time of Noah. In our talks about Noah, we learned that he had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Scriptures show us that it is from these three men that all the peoples of the world come. Shem was the father of the Jews and the Arabs. Most of the people of Africa and China are probably descendants of Ham. Europeans are descendants of Japheth.

If you would like to broaden your knowledge of the origin of the nations, you can study chapters ten and eleven of the first book of the Torah. However, in our lesson today, we have time to explain just one thing about the history of Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. It is this: Shem was the one whom God chose to be in the ancestry of the Redeemer who would come into the world. That is why the Holy Scriptures follow more closely the story of the descendants of Shem. It is from his line that both the prophets of God and the Savior of the world came.

Thus, all the peoples of the earth come from the three sons of Noah. You and I, all the people of Senegal, the people of Gambia, Mauritania and all of Africa, as well as all the other peoples of the world-everyone living today is a descendant of Noah. Therefore we can say that we are here today because Noah believed God and made an ark to save his family; for when he saved his family from the flood, he also saved you and me along with them (from extinction).

God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them: "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." (Gen. 9:1) Thus, hundreds of years after the flood, once again, there were multitudes of people dwelling upon the earth. And again, the world began to be corrupted by sin. We have already seen that Noah and his sons were born sinners because they were descendants of Adam. When they entered the ark, their sinful nature, which they received from Adam, went along with them. And when they went out of the ark, they went out with the root of sin still in their hearts. The flood did not change man's sinful condition. As the (Wolof) proverb puts it: "A rat only begets that which digs." Therefore, all the people of the world continued to be born sinners, because they were all descendants of Noah who was a descendant of Adam.

It is sad, but true, that hundreds of years after the great flood, most of Noah's descendants were no longer concerned about God and His will. They did not believe the word of God as did their ancestors Seth, Enoch and Noah. They forgot God and did not thank Him for giving them life and breath and sunshine and rain and food. As for the rainbow that God had placed in the clouds to remind them of His faithfulness, most no longer even knew what it meant. Listen to what the Word of God declares concerning them:

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator, who is forever praised. Amen." (Rom. 1:21,22,25)

Like Cain and his descendants, most of Noah's descendants chose to bury the truth, and follow unrighteousness. They had religion, but it was a false religion because it did not line up with the way of righteousness established by God. They did not listen to the true word of God. They were listening to Satan.

There was a man by the name of Nimrod, who descended from Ham, Noah's second son. Nimrod was a great hunter who lived about five hundred years after the flood. His name means rebel. Nimrod was highly intelligent, but he did not know God. He ignored the word of God and followed the way of Satan, the way of Cain, and the way of the people of Noah's generation. Nimrod built several large cities, and planned to build a great city in which all the people of the world could live together and be as one.

Let us now read in chapter eleven of the book of Genesis to see what the Scriptures say concerning the great city which Nimrod and those with him planned to build. The Scripture says:

(Gen.11) 1Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

Thus, we see how the sons of Adam planned to build a great city and a high tower that would reach to the heavens. Why did they want to build that high tower? Nimrod and those who went along with him were seeking to make a name for themselves in the world. They planned to gather the people of the world into one place, so that they would become powerful and not be scattered over the earth. However, what they planned to do did not please God. God had told the children of Noah to spread out over the surface of the earth. God, who created man, knew what was best for the people of the world. However, most of Noah's descendants didn't care about the thoughts of God. They thought that they were more intelligent than God. Like Satan himself, their hearts were full of pride and rebellion against God. But the Scriptures say: "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt. 23:12) And "what is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight." (Luke 16:15)

To exalt man or to seek a great name for yourself is sin before God, because there is only one Name worthy of praise and glory. That is the Name of the Lord God who made heaven and earth! As the Scripture says: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord! For it is not the one who [praises] himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord [praises]." (2 Cor. 10:17,18)

However, in the time of Nimrod, most of the children of Adam had no respect for the Lord. They thought they didn't need God and His word; they did not need anyone to tell them anything. They were characterized by a spirit of independence and rebellion. To this day, that same attitude is found in the hearts of the children of Adam. We even see it in little children when they flip their arm and say, "No, I won't!" {a Wolof expression of stubborn refusal}. And how much more is this same spirit of rebellion found in adults! What is the cause of the strife found in the homes and nations of the world? Is it not this spirit of independence which thinks: "I can take care of myself. My traditions are the best. My religion is good enough for me. My sect is right. My people are superior. My tribe is the smartest. My name is the most important. My things! My will! My works! My money! My! My!! My!!!" How self-centered is man! Everyone pulls for his own interests. That (self-seeking) spirit of independence is why the world is full of quarrels, fights and wars. However, God hates such a spirit, for His Name alone is worthy of glory. That is why He says in His Word: "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another!" (Isa. 42:8)

However, those who began to build the tower to reach to the heavens didn't care about God's glory. They only sought their own glory. They had no use for the Name of their Creator. Certainly, many people of that time were religious, but they ignored the word of God. They thought they could reach heaven in their own way. Think of it! Just five hundred years after the flood, people were, once again, going their own way and ignoring the Lord who gave them life and breath. They were like a horse that, after it has been washed, goes and rolls in the mud! (See 2 Pet. 2:22) How foolish and wicked of man to want to live his life apart from God and His Word!

So what did God do? Did He ignore the people's plan to live independently of their Creator? Did He accept those who rebelled against Him? No, He did not! Listen to what God did. The Scripture says:

(Gen.11) 5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6The Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." 8So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth."

Thus, we see how God upset the plans of Nimrod and the others who had begun to build a great city for their own glory. Until this time, everyone in the world spoke the same language. But on this day, God mixed up their language so that they could no longer understand each other. You will remember that God had commanded Noah's descendants "to fill the earth"; to spread out all over the world. But Nimrod and his followers wanted to do things their own way and gather all the people of the world into one place. God defeated their intentions by giving them new languages. That is how God scattered them over the face of the whole earth. This is the reason we have hundreds of nations and thousands of languages in the world today.

God certainly did a thorough job of mixing up the languages of the world. Think how many languages are spoken in Senegal alone. Oh how great is our God! No one can go against God Almighty and prosper. "An egg should not wrestle with a rock!" {Wolof Proverb} Man tried to "wrestle" with God and lost. Do you know the name of this city which man tried to build in rebellion against God? Yes, the name of the city is Babel. Babel means confusion. Life apart from God and His Word is only confusion!

That is the story of the city of Babel and the people who tried to exalt their own name. Are we ever like the people of Babel? Do we ever exalt ourselves? God tells us that it is sin to do so. Listening friend, whose name are you seeking to exalt? Your own name? …the name of a man, perhaps some marabout {religious leader}? Or are you seeking to exalt the Name of the Lord God and Him alone? Whose praise {thanks} are you seeking? The praise of man? Or are you seeking the praise of God? One thing is absolutely certain. The praise that comes from men will pass away, but the praise that comes from God will endure forever. God's Word says: "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever!" (1 Pet. 1:24)

Listen to this word from the Lord Himself:

"'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 9:23,24)

God willing, in our next program, we will review everything that we have studied from the beginning until now….God bless you as you remember:

"It is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends." (2 Cor. 10:18)