Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. "I’m the greatest hitter in the world," he announced. Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed. "Strike one!" he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I’m the greatest hitter in the world!"
He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. "Strike two!" he cried. The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, "I’m the greatest hitter in the world!" Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. "Strike three!" "Wow!" he exclaimed. "I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!"
Pride is something else isn’t it? I mean, pride is a strong force that can blind a person to reality and take them down paths of life that they were never intended to go down.
Remember Saddam Hussein? Now that guy was a man full of pride. So much so that he was actually proud of his pride! A man who thought of himself as a type of reincarnation of the ancient king of Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar. He thought he was untouchable and thumbed his nose at the world community for decades! And for a time, he did pretty much whatever he wanted, no matter how cruel and sick and evil. But eventually that pride was his downfall and the last time we saw him his pride couldn’t loosen that noose around his neck.
Ironically, Iraq, or ancient Babylon, has always been a region of pride and that’s demonstrated in Genesis 11 where we see the people living in direct disobedience to the Lord all because of their pride. Tonight we’ll be looking at the Tower of Babel that was built by pride.
But what is pride? I mean, we’re proud of our kids when they live well. We’re proud to be an American citizen. We’re proud of our favorite football team. That’s good pride.
But there is an evil side of pride. A pride that seeks to exalt ourselves over God. A pride that makes us arrogant. A pride that makes us self-centered. The Bible talks a lot about this kind of pride and how it turns people away from the Lord. I would define sinful pride as:
“An inflated ego that’s based on self-achievement instead of God-enablement.”
That’s the kind of pride that turns a person inward instead of God-ward. So please turn to Genesis 11 as we begin tonight.
[Read Genesis 11:1.]
Now remember, Genesis 11 predates Genesis 10 chronologically. Genesis 10 shows us the generations and family lines of Noah and indicates that the languages and consequently the people groups were divided accordingly. Genesis 10 shows us why that happened.
After the flood it was just Noah, his sons, and their families that were to repopulate the earth. God was giving humanity another chance to exist. They all were together and shared the same language even as the generations were coming forth. But something happened along the way – man allowed pride back in and the results were dramatic.
I. Man’s pride turned him away from God
And pride will always do that. Pride will always turn us away from God because pride is an inflated ego that’s based on self-achievement instead of God-enablement.
Pride convinces us that we can do things on our own. Pride convinces us that we know everything. And pride convinces us that we deserve acclaim because of all we know and can do. This is the kind of pride that’s displayed in the people here.
1. Man’s pride turned him away from God to make his own plans
[Read Genesis 11:2.]
Now that sounds harmless right? I mean, they found themselves some nice land, a good place to raise a family, beautiful landscape, and they decided that they would settle there. But that wasn’t the plan according to God.
[Read Genesis 9:1.]
God expressly kept them alive so they could repopulate the entire earth – not just one region of it. But somehow their pride convinced them that their plan was better than God’s.
[Shaking baby and then getting puked on illustration.]
In the same way our pride can turn us away from God to make our own plans.
2. Man’s pride turned him away from God to make a name for himself
[Read Genesis 11:3-4.]
The city and the tower they were building were not as much for habitation and civilization as they were to be monuments of their own achievements. They were self-congratulatory reminders of just how wonderful they were as a people.