Summary: Demonstrating through the story of Babel how to avoid unhealthy pride and fear by trusting God.
COME, LET US……. Genesis 11:1-9
Read all of Genesis 11:1-9. Today’s message addresses human pride, fear, and sin. Very apparent to us at this point: It is a message of judgment; but upon closer examination of its context, we also find a message of grace.
When a televised baseball game went into extra innings one evening NBC sportscaster Curt Gowdy announced: “The “Tonight Show” has been cancelled, the “Tomorrow Show” will be seen later tonight and the “Today Show” will be seen tomorrow.” Confusion had a large part to play in this story; and only through the work and initiative of God would that confusion begin to be eliminated. We know that God is not the author of confusion; but of peace. That fact will be confirmed in His work in Genesis.
1. MAN SAYS, COME LET US MAKE/BUILD ….. (v.3-4) Why did they say this? Why did they sin? Very simply, pride!
ILLUS> A Sunday School teacher had done a good piece of teaching her class of boys, explaining the hard heart of the Pharisee. What a thing for a man to say: “I thank thee, that I am not as other men are!” This surely was no attitude for anyone to take. At the close of the lesson she had the youngsters lead in short prayers, and one boy, without any apparent beating on his own chest, prayed: “We thank thee, God, that we are not like that Pharisee!” Do we sometimes pray like that boy? (Luke 18:11) —United Presbyterian
A. I found these words about pride in a dictionary: “PRIDE is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect”(online dictionary) In the case of Genesis, pride speaks to the arrogance of man against his Creator. Everything that God had purposed to do in Creation; man rebelled against. In Genesis 6:5, “that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” And even after the flood, the graciousness of God went unnoticed, In Genesis 8:21 God affirmed that “every inclination of (man’s) his heart is evil from childhood”
B. Pride can be caused by many things, but its result is always the same: it erects a brick wall against the goodness of relationship and ultimately love. “On one of Mr. Moody’s western campaigns, he was followed from city to city by an aged and broken man of venerable appearance who, in each place, asked the privilege of saying a word to the great congregations. He would stand up and in a quavering voice would say: “Is my son George in this place? George, are you here? O George, are you here? O George, if you are here, come to me. Your old father loves you, George, and can’t die content without seeing you again.” Then the old man would sit down. One night a young man came to Mr. Moody’s hotel and asked to see him. It was George. When the great evangelist asked him how he could find it in his heart to treat a loving father with such cruel neglect, the young man, said: “I never thought of him; but Mr. Moody, I have tried to do all the good I could.” That is a good picture of a self-righteous prodigal in the far country. He was generous with his money and with his words—yet every moment of his infamous life he was trampling on the heart of a loving father.” —C. I. Scofield You see, when we think of ourselves, we fail to think of others before ourselves. And when we only think of and rely on ourselves, we have only ourselves to rely upon.
ILLUS> Pride was spoken of in the following experience of “one of Spurgeon’s students went into a pulpit with every expression of confidence but he had an extremely difficult time. He came down distressed, almost brokenhearted, and he went to Spurgeon about it. The words of Spurgeon to him were these, “If you had gone up as you came down, you would have come down as you went up.”—Al Bryant
The point is made: pride does go before a fall. This student of preaching boldly went to his; when in all actuality; humility should have lead the way.
Let’s read some of God’s Word that will help us get some perspective concerning pride: Psalms 111:9 (READ) (how the word ‘awesome’ is used to liberally today) when something is said of God…it can never be used to describe anything else. (reverend)
Psalms 31:14-18 (READ) Those who are prideful speak against God and his people; but those who live for God are protected by God’s love as is “a strong city” Call attention to (v.21).
TRANSITION: Pride was not the only problem of these people in Genesis though; but so was fear! The people actually had the audacity to think that God was not in control of their situation and, as a result; they were taking things into their own hands. Also, consider this: The pride that gives confidence also can result in fear.