Summary: When towers fall, pride is always involved. "I" is in the middle of pride and sin, but the cross of Christ is "I" crossed out. This sermon shows what pride does to us, God’s reaction to pride, and five steps to avoid pride.
For thousands of years, man has continually tried to proudly pat himself on the back for his knowledge and acheivements. For example, when the Titanic was built, it was billed as the “unsinkable ship,” with one person stating that “God Himself could not sink her,” yet it was just an iceberg that sunk the mighty ship (or was it God after all)? Man has walked on the moon, but still continues to have trouble in safely exploring space. Man, with his great engineering intelligence and prowess, built the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the early seventies, able to withstand hurricane force winds. For all the technical knowledge and skill put into the structure, it could not withstand the airplane attack of crazed murderers.
Tonight, let us learn what happens when man’s pride gets in the way of his work as we turn to Genesis 11...
WHAT PRIDE DOES TO US - VV 1-4
In chapter 9 of Genesis, God wraps up the incredible journey of Noah on the ark, and commands him to “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Notice that God’s commandments are always simple to understand, but never seem simple for man to follow. God’s instructions to man were simple: populate and fill the earth.
All of a man’s problems start when he takes his eyes off of God. The instructions of God given to Noah were no doubt handed down to his great-grandson Nimrod, who is commonly attributed with leading the building of the Tower of Babel. Yet, Nimrod (meaning to rebel, or we will rebel) rejected God’s simple instructions in various ways.
First, he caused men to TURN THEIR BACKS ON GOD “as they journeyed from the east…” When you look at the east on a map, it is on your right hand side. During the judgment, God will put His people at His right, and Jesus now sits at His right side. Therefore, when the people followed Nimrod to the left, going to the west, they symbolically turned their backs on God.
Second, Nimrod caused the people to PITCH THEIR TENTS in this area and settle there: “and they dwelt there.” When the people turned their backs on God, then they settled in and made themselves comfortable.
Next, in verse three, after they settled in and got comfortable, their MINDS AND WORK WERE DIVERTED from God’s ordained instructions to making brick. Pride and sin will always do this to us.
Finally, in verse four, the people were led to begin BUILDING A MONUMENT to themselves for their own glory. Notice that by this time, they were conscious about God’s instructions and were building monuments to AVOID GOD’S WILL.
How do we define pride and what it entails? This way:
PRIDE WILL CAUSE US TO TURN OUR BACKS ON GOD
PRIDE WILL CAUSE US TO SETTLE IN AND GET COMFORTABLE
PRIDE WILL DIVERT OUR WORK AND MINDS
PRIDE WILL CAUSE US TO BUILD OUR OWN MONUMENTS TO AVOID GOD’S WILL
GOD’S REACTION TO PRIDE - VV 5-9
In the next few verses, we will discover that the actions of the people got God’s notice. Of course, God is all-knowing, and these actions did not take Him by surprise. But let us look close and discover God’s reaction to pride.
We may think that we have fooled God and gotten away with something, but our actions are always followed by Him. The scriptures tell us that “God came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.”
First, GOD RECOGNIZED THE REBELLION OF THE PEOPLE. In verse six, He identified that “the people is one” and “this they begin to do.” Man has always tried to hide his sin from the eyes of Almighty God, but to no avail. Adam, Moses, and David all tried to hide their sin, but God always sees it and takes note of it. Like the famed heavy weight boxing champion Joe Louis once said, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”
“My sin is ever before me…” Psalm 51:2
Second, GOD CORRECTED THE PEOPLE. Actually, he smashed the hopes and dreams that they had set up for themselves. They wanted to make a name for themselves, but God had other plans. In verses seven and eight, the scripture says that He said, “Let us go down, and there confound their language” and “So the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the earth.”
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Hebrews 12:6
FIVE STEPS TO AVOID PRIDE
DON’T OVERESTIMATE YOURSELF
“Be not wise in thy own eyes…” Proverbs 3:7
“Boast not thyself of tomorrow…” Proverbs 27:1
DON’T PRAISE YOURSELF
“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” Proverbs 27:2