Summary: This was no ordinary building project. It is an illustration of humankind’s tendency to focus our unity on building monuments to our own greatness instead of using it to follow God’s plan.
No Ordinary Building
Babylonian tablets confirm the story of the tower of Babel
Tower built several generations after the flood
Westward movement of man to Mesopotamia
See what you notice . . . when you read verses 3,4 (“Us” syndrome). The people were only concerned about themselves and not God’s glory.
The tower was likely a Ziggurat: circle or square w/ runway to the top
3rd building project in the Bible
1st Ark, 2nd Cain
This is the 1st building described in detail
Geographical rally point for the people
Psychological rally point for the people
Tower was likely a worship place (worship of created things)
Likely an Astrology tower: heathen worship of heavens
In the ruins of Babylon there was found: 153’ high w/ 400’ base w/ 7 stages correspond to the planets; on summit signs of zodiac
Dr. Barnhouse comments on this passage that this was an “open, definite turning to Satan and the beginning of devil worship.” The Bible pronounces a curse on those who consult sun, moon, stars.
Were they worshipping the created and not the Creator (Romans 1)?
Sounds like they had good intentions
Babel: means the “gate of God.”
Universe was considered a state ruled by the gods
Picture of the gods was one in which each god
was seen as bound up by a particular natural phenomenon through which he was made manifest.
Later . . .
Babel known as “confusion”
Language changed by God here at Babel; contrast this with Pentecost where God allowed the disciples to speak languages they did not know.
The Big Idea
This passage highlights our tendency to focus our unity on building monuments to our own greatness instead of using it to follow God’s plan.
v. 4 “this will bring us together”
sounds good doesn’t it?
God’s desire is to bring us together as a church for worship but then to scatter us out into the community to make a difference for Him.
v. 4 “keep us from scattering all over the world”
they knew what they were supposed to do, but didn’t want to do it.
Churches often go through times of scattering when people move out of the area or leave the church. As in the story of Babel, the scattering doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. God can use it for His glory.
To date, our church has never had a building of its own. I am glad for this and see the wisdom of God in this. Our church has had to be built on relationships not a building.
David said about the temple that it was “not just an ordinary building. It is for the Lord Himself.”
Is a church building anything like the Temple of God in the Old Testament or is it just an ordinary building?
How do we ensure that we do not make this building more extra-ordinary than it should be in God’s sight?
I. We need to gather as a church making a name for our God
Desire for reputation more than a desire to be in the presence of God?
Desire for independence from God rather than dependence on Him?
God had to come down to see the tower. This reminds us of the insignificance of anything done in flesh. The fact that God has to "come down to see it."
Nothing we can do on our own compares with what God can do.
Are you making a name for yourself or letting God make a name for you?
II. We need to scatter as a church making a name for our God
v. 6 depravity of man; heads his own way ("nothing will be impossible")
What if we gain the world and lose our souls?
God had a place for them to scatter (tower of Babel)
God has a place for our church to scatter (into the community)
God has a place for you to scatter as a person to make an impact where no one else can.
Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him. 5 And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple.
Together we comprise the spiritual temple; this is "No Ordinary Building."
Your body is a temple of God as well.
Small Group Questions
•Icebreaker: What is one of your favorite buildings?
•Have you ever known a church to put undo emphasis on their building(s)? What were the consequences?
•What illustrations of the ‘us’ syndrome do you see in modern Christianity?
•If God came down today, what towers would he find us building?
•Where do you see the “it’s all about me” syndrome in your own life?
•In what ways to you think we could make a name for God in the way that we use our new church space? Our homes?