Summary: The 4th Sermon in "Our Favorite O.T. Stories." The point of the story of the Tower of Babel is: You are never so successful that you have outgrown your need for God. For in the end it is salvation that matters.
In taking on this task of going through the important Old Testament stories, I have really had to wrestle with what stories to include and which ones to skip. And I was tempted to skip the story of the Tower of Babel. But I just couldn’t. Partially because it is such a well-known story, but also because it is so misunderstood. Or, I should say, not understood. There are several very important points in this story, yet most read over it as if it is just an interesting bit of trivia. Some people decided to build a big building and God stopped them. That is about as much as people get out of this story. But there is much more to it than that. There are some very important lessons that we can learn from the story of the Tower of Babel.
Genesis 11:1-9 (NLT)
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.
They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”
In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.
Now let me draw out some important points from this story. And that is my real objective in these sermons. I don’t want us just to know the stories. I want us to know what they mean. I want us to be able to apply the truths from these stories to our own spiritual lives. So what are some important truths from the Tower of Babel story.
I. Human Potential.
First, this story tells us that God created mankind with great potential. Many non-Christians believe that Christianity attacks humanity and says that we are basically worthless. Many say that the Christian faith is a crutch for the weak. They believe that the Christian faith is something that helps worthless people feel like at least they will get a break in the next life. Yet, listen to what God says about the human potential:
Genesis 11:6 (NLT)
“Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!”
God says: If man were to work together. If we were to put all our differences aside and work together, there is nothing that we could not accomplish. At least in this physical world.