The Tower of Babel
There was a zoo which had a particularly irritating jackal. He complained about everything, regularly stirring up unrest among the animals. Six months after his arrival, the jackal had convinced the majority of the animals to revolt against the zookeeper. Said zookeeper then stepped aside and allowed the jackal to run things. The result was chaos. Food was not being prepared properly, causing many animals to go hungry. No one cleaned up the droppings and the place began to stink. Visitors were turned off by the conditions of the zoo and stopped visiting. Money stopped coming in and what little there was for food and bedding soon dried up. Before long, the animals deposed the jackal and asked the zookeeper to come back.
Now this story may seem ridiculous. One would think that the jackal would have seen that he could not run things. Yet more inteligent creatures have done exactly the same thing, even before this point in history. Lucipher was the first. He wanted to set himself up as god and as a result, started an epic conflict which lasts to this day, contaminating Heaven and Earth.
Eve tried to become a god. She wanted to be her own judge of right and wrong. The result was the forfeiture of the world.
Cain may not have tried to set himself up as god, but he did want to be the one who made the rules. He expected God to accept him on his own terms, and became violent when God refused.
From before day one, spirits and mortals have been trying to play god, and the result has always been catastrophic. Now we have the entire human race embracing humanism. In direct disobedience to God's command to colonize and subdue the planet, they decided to settle together in Shinar and build a single, unified society.
Now there is nothing wrong with desiring unity. This is probably the last time there was ever real world peace. The only trouble was that they made one very critical exclusion. They weren't unified with God. The people of Shinar were trying to set themselves up as their own god.
Fortunately, the Lord didn't get angry with their presumptuousness. He simply exercised His divine authority and altered language so that this kind of unity would never happen again in the natural course of events.
Now what does this tell us about God? It demonstrates resourcefulness, for one thing. There is no smiting here. No plagues, no fire, no lightning. Just a tweak in the speech centers of human brains. It also shows his power. Are you all familiar with the phrase "The weakness of God is stronger than man's strength"? Here's the perfect example. Here's the entire human race unified for a single purpose. Even God admits that with this kind of unity, nothing is impossible for them. Yet all God had to do to make them do what He wanted was confuse their speech. It demonstrates mercy in that He solved this problem in a completely nonviolent fashion. A lot of people have this picture of God a grumpy old man who has a stout can in one hand and is ready to heavily smite anyone who looks at Him funny. While God has killed many people, I think that history up to this point has shown God to belargely nonviolent. Satan was not destroyed, but exiled. Adam, Eve and the snake were not destroyed, but cursed. Cain was not destroyed, but cursed. It wasn't until the lifetime of Enoch that God made any mention of killing anyone. Even then, he gave almost a millenium warning, with Methuselah serving as as the sign of the end of the age. Even then, the door of Noah's ark stood open for a very long time. There was every opportunity for people to repent and live. And now, God deals with the perversity of mankind not with violence or even threats, but by simply dividing them up intellectually.
As far as history is concerned, here, the river of history widens. It doesn't branch, because everything is still connected. Nations are being created. The sons of Japheth are traveling East into what we know as China, Mongolia, India and Indonesia, becoming the oriental race, and eventually western indians as well. The sons of Ham are traveling west into Africa They'll become the negros and after a bit of travel, the aboriginies. The sons of Shem are staying in the middle east, theough the will eventually colonize Europe and northern Asia, giving rise to Caucasians and neanderthals. And of course, the ones who stayed put were known as the Shemites, or in the modern tongue, Semites. It is out of the semites that God selects a single man who will become the father of many great nations, and from his line, God will bring about the salvation of all mankind.
My challenge to my readers and listeners is twofold, and it the same for Christians and nonchristians. First, we have to face the truth of our own perversity. We do things that displease God. Every one of us. At one time or another, we set ourselves up as god, either by refusing the authority of the true God or by taking what is due Him for ourselves. We are all like the jackal in the opening story, and because we play at being the zookeeper instead of granting authority where it belongs, our zoo falls out of order. We need a real zookeeper. We need God.
The second part is to understand that God is not some sort of cosmic sadist. He is not waiting to strike you with a lightning bolt the second you mess up. He is a loving and merciful God who punishes us according to the state of our hearts. The truly wicked, he breaks, but the penitent he disciplines with corrective measures. If you have accepted Christ as your savior, you are God's son (yes, even if you're a girl) and He will instruct you because He loves you. You need only do your best to obey and to learn from whatever punishment He doles out. If you haven't, then understand that God doesn't want to hurt you, no matter how bad you've been. He wants to set your life in order, just as our zookeeper restored order to the zoo. All you need to do is grant him the authority to do so by proclaiming Jesus as your Lord, savior and master.
Next week, Draco Dei will be preaching. The week after that, the topic is Abram.
Thank you all for coming. There's coffee and donuts in the foyer, raw meat in the kitchen, leafy greens in the garden and termites in the orchard, depending on your taste and species.
Today's reading: Genesis 11:1-9
11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.
2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.
4 Then 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."
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.
6 The 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.
7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
9 That 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.