Summary: Pentecost (C) - The Lord’s ways are higher than our ways because man’s ways are always selfish. Only God’s word works success.
THE LORD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS (Outline)
May 31, 2009 --
INTRO: Today’s verses describe God’s confusion of language at Babel. On this day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit provided a way to clearly understand different languages. What does our Lord really want? Confusion or clarity? We are also reminded that our thoughts and ways are not always the thoughts and ways of the Lord our God Almighty. "’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’" (ISAIAH 55:8,9). We consider:
THE LORD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS.
I. Man’s works are selfish.
II. God’s word is success.
I. MAN’S WORKS ARE SELFISH
A. In Genesis God creates the world. It is perfect. Adam and Eve sinned. Evil flourishes.
1. Cain kills Abel. Noah and his family (8) survive a worldwide flood.
2. Our verses follow all of this world history. Verse 1. A common language unites mankind.
B. Verse 2. Man is on the move to repopulate the earth.
1. The hearts of men are still evil, verse 3. These bricks are strong – baked, not sun-dried.
a. Brick instead of stone – to last longer. b. Tar for mortar – they wanted their work to last.
2. Mankind was doing all of this for their own glory, not God’s. It was blind ambition, pride.
C. Verse 4. The city would give them a place to settle. The tower would reach up to God himself.
1. They wanted a name for themselves rather than worship the name of the Lord.
2. They did not want to be scattered though the Lord wanted them to populate the entire earth.
D. We want to think that we are not as blinded by such selfish ambition at these people were. Make no mistake evil is always lurking in the hearts of every person. Adam and Eve first sinned because of blind ambition and pride. Jesus used an example to describe the man who trusted in the success worked by his own hands. God blessed him with an abundant harvest. The man decided to build bigger barns. "And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’" (LUKE 12:19). All too often we may have this same attitude. We have so much that we think every success belongs to us. All of God’s blessings are not our doings. The Lord’s ways are higher.
E. Our society, the world in which we live, contributes to that need to please our sinful nature. We are daily bombarded with the philosophy that money is the solution to any problem that we might face. Our media reminds us constantly of disasters we face all because of money, or the lack of it. Visit with some wealthy people. They are always striving for more because they feel they never have enough. Contentment is one of God’s gifts to believers. We are not exempt from sinful desires and distractions that this world offers. "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless" (ECCLESIASTES 5:10). The Lord’s ways are higher.
F. How often do we stop to think how much the Lord is involved in our lives? Many times we rush and hurry around in this life to get everything done that we can in one day. As believers we come back to our senses. We are reminded that our success does not depend on our selfish motives or prideful ambition. "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves" (PSALM 127:1,2). Truly, the Lord does grant sleep to those he loves. The ways of the Lord are much higher than our sinful nature.
THE LORD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS.
Our works and ways are selfish.
II. GOD’S WORD IS SUCCESS
A. In these verses mankind is once again on a track of self-centered destruction. God intervenes.
1. Verse 5. The Lord is concerned and intimately involved in all the details of his creation.
2. Verse 6. Man was beginning to think of himself with too much self-importance.
3. Man might think everything is possible. Jesus used this term later to describe God’s work.
B. Verse 7. Note God’s irony here. Verse 3 and 4 man said: “Let us” make bricks and build.
1. The Lord God Almighty uses the very same words that mankind used for himself.