Summary: Tower of Babel narrative gives us a good idea of what should be foreign language to believers today.

Foreign Language

Genesis 11:1-9

Intro: Say a few words in another language.

Why do we have so many languages today? Why do we have to take Spanish, German, French, Greek, Hebrew? Why can’t we all just speak one language?

In our text today we are going to see how it happened. You may be familiar with the Tower of Babel. The word Babel, to the Babylonians, means “Gate of the gods” and the Hebrew verb that is like it is balal, meaning to confuse, or to mingle, mix up. We are dealing with a text today that is set in a history rich area, Mesopotamia, “Between the Rivers. It is the setting for our text today. What I want us to understand is this: the three things we are going to look at today that caused foreign languages to come about, should be foreign language to you and I as believers today.

I. They settled. Verse 1-2.

A. One of the problems with them settling is that they were told to go forth and multiply and fill the earth.

i. Getting together in one spot is not going to fulfill that command.

ii. They were settling for less than God’s will.

B. It is not God’s desire today that we settle for anything.

C. We do though.

1. Jesus said go and make disciples of all nations, but we won’t go next door.

2. God says give 10%, we settle for 5%

3. We settle for just coming to church rather than serve in the church.

D. Look at where they settled. They were not too far from where they started.

E. Mankind began in the garden, ended up being flooded out, 8 were saved, began a new population, and now right back to the beginning. They have come full circle. They settled for less than God’s best.

F. His best is found in the blessings that come through faithful obedience. God using people to populate the earth was not so much a command as it was a chance for people to receive a blessing from God.

G. Wherever you are right now in your Christian walk, if you are headed back to where you started from, you are going the wrong way.

1. You started separated from God.

2. You started not knowing much about God.

3. You started not knowing God’s Word.

4. You started not wanting to please Him.

H. The goal in our walk with Christ is not to continue on as who we were, but to become more like Him. How are you doing in this area of your life today? What if we did our jobs this way? Always striving to get back to where we started?

I. So, we can’t settle today for anything less than God’s best. In our personal life and in our church.

J. Settling today for you and I should be foreign language. We should not understand that idea.

Not only did the people settle for less than God’s will and God’s best, but they also had a pride problem. This was another reason God came down and mixed up the language and brought on confusion among the people. Another reason for the foreign languages. Why do you have to take Spanish? Pride.

II. Pride. 3-5a

A. The Bible declares that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” Proverbs 16:18. What is a haughty spirit? An exalted spirit, an overly high sense of arrogance.

B. Illustration: There was a mass migration of all animal life one time. All the creatures of the earth were making there way south due to ecological hardships in the north. It was chaos. A certain frog was really trying to get as far south as fast as he could go. He saw a pig making good time but then thought, “much too dirty for a creature such as I, I could not ride on the pig.” A skunk came running along and the frog surely would have none of that. Then two ducks appeared on the pond for a drink. The frog went to the ducks and said, “I need to get south ASAP. You must help me. The ducks saw a stick floating on the pond and told the frog they could carry the stick between them, and he could ride on the stick. As they were flying along, the frog was holding on by his mouth and a herd of cows were moving along and looked up. They were amazed at the sight. Who thought of that they asked the ducks. “ I diiiiiiiiiiiiiiid” said the frog on the way down.

C. The problem with pride is that it removes God from the picture. It becomes all about us.

D. Look at the three invitations of pride.

1. Let us make bricks.

2. Let us build a city.

3. Let us make a name.

E. Let’s use what we make for ourselves bricks. Let’s not use the stone, that God has provided. God is left out.

F. Let’s build for ourselves a city.

1. Cities meant security.

2. Cities meant importance.

3. Cities meant power.

G. Let’s build for ourselves a tower.

1. Towers were religious symbols.

2. Towers were to honor the gods.

3. The tower was man’s effort to reach God.

4. The only problem was, it was done in pride and not in service.

H. That was the whole issue. Let’s make a city. Let’s make a tower. Let’s show off our importance and status, let’s show off our religious devotion, let’s make a name for ourselves. Let’s be popular among the area. Let’s be the in community. Let’s be the shining stars of Shinar.

I. You want to know where pride comes in the picture today in our churches.

1. It’s when we begin to care more about what people think of us, than what God thinks of us.

2. It’s when we begin to strive to please men, over pleasing God.

3. It’s when people’s thinking takes priority over the inspired word.

4. It’s when we are more concerned with making a great name for CBC, than we are a great name for our Savior.

5. It’s when we are more concerned with how the church looks to others, than we are with how we look to God.

J. How does God look upon prideful efforts: How does He see our great and tremendous work we do? The fact of the matter is, when pride is driving it, it is minute in the eyes of God. He had to come down and see the city and tower.

K. Our pride has a way of inflating what we do, when in reality, they are so small and insignificant in the sight of God.

Why will there come a day when I have to learn Greek and Hebrew? Because of pride.

Not only did they settle out of God’s will and for less than God’s best, they were prideful. Pride should be a foreign language for you and I today. We should not understand it. They also found a place that was comfortable to live in. It was a place of fertility. The rivers would overflow and a fruitful season would follow. The place they were living was a comfort to them. They feared moving on and not being a community. They feared moving out into the unknown.

III. Fear. Verse 4b.

A. Their fear was doing exactly what they had been instructed to do.

B. They had settled into a comfortable lifestyle.

C. There is not a bigger hindrance for believers today than modern comforts.

1. we have so many things that will do stuff for us, we don’t like to do stuff for ourselves anymore.

2. this includes doing God’s work. Let someone else do it for me.

3. We get too comfortable with what we have or how we are, that we actually begin to fear doing what God desires us to be doing.

D. Why do we have such a fear of talking to people?

E. Why do we have such a fear of actually taking the Word of God and living it out?

F. Why do we have such a fear of doing what God has told us to do?

G. Because we have tried to be man pleasers so long, that we have lost our sensitivity to the fact that we are to be God pleasers.

H. We have settled into routine Christianity. Pride keeps us going in our efforts to make a name for our self, to be a great church. Pride keeps us focused on pleasing those around us before we please God. Unity and togetherness wins out over God’s desire because of fear.

I. We fear anything that causes us to leave our comfort zones, even to the point of loosing our fear of God.

God has a way, through His sovereign activity in this world, to disrupt our settled lives. He has a way of disrupting prideful efforts we exert from time to time. He has a way of getting us to do what we fear the most.

It should never get to that, however, as a believer. We should look at settling, pride and fear, as foreign language. These words should not be in vocabulary of Christianity.