Summary: God’s judgment in Genesis 11:1-9 teaches us that God overrules all human challenges to his sovereign kingship.
Today, we conclude a series of sermons on Genesis 1-11 that I am calling, “In the Beginning.” I am preaching only six sermons on these 11 chapters. It is just an overview of redemptive history.
So far, we have looked at the Creation of all things in Genesis 1:1-2:3, the Fall of man into sin Genesis 2:4-3:24, Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-26, Adam’s descendants in Genesis 5:1-6:8, and Noah and the flood in Genesis 6:9-9:17. Today, I want to conclude this overview by examining the tower of Babel.
The account of the tower of Babel is one of two parenthetical accounts between the story of Noah and the story of Abraham. The story of Noah ends at the end of Genesis 9 with these words, in verses 28-29, “After the flood Noah lived 350 years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.” Chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis describe “the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Genesis 10:1a). The generations eventually lead to Terah at the end of chapter 11, who is the father of Abraham (11:26). The rest of Genesis tells us about Abraham and his sons.
Now, as I said, the account of the tower of Babel is one of two parenthetical accounts between the story of Noah and the story of Abraham. These two parenthetical accounts are very important accounts and they are linked together. The first parenthetical account is about Nimrod in Genesis 10:8-12:
8 Cush [the son of Ham] fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and 12 Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
Nimrod was a kingdom-builder. Notice in Genesis 10:10 that the beginning of his kingdom was “Babel… in the land of Shinar.” That comment links to the second parenthetical account in Genesis 11 about the tower of Babel.
Let’s read about the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9:
1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:1-9)