Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

OT Tuesday: Towering Confusion

A while ago God got really fed up with us people and decided to clean house, so to speak. So the entire world experienced a rinse cycle the likes of which have never been seen before or since. Slowly the waters receded and the sons of Noah began to replenish the earth.

As we know, Jesus likes little kids (Matthew 19:14) and that's because God does too, on more than one occasion He commanded us to go out and have lots of babies (Genesis 9:7) for him to love. Several times God told us to "Go forth and multiply", because he wanted mankind to spread over the earth he built for us

So humans being humans we thought we had a better idea, we got together and decided to build a town:
They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4-5)
Lots of people believe that the idea of building a tower that will reach to heaven is the sin of Babel but that may not be so... 

The idea of building a tower that can reach the heavens simply means that they're going to build a really tall tower. Deuteronomy 1:28 describes a city walled up to heaven. Keep in mind back then there were multiple heavens, the first heaven was the sky, where clouds live. The second heaven was outer space where the stars and the moon dwell, and the third heaven was what we still consider heaven: God's home. Building a wall or tower that would reach heaven didn't mean anything more that "really really tall" and because they didn't specify which heaven they were trying to reach making the supposition that they were trying to reach God is just speculation from across the millennia.

The real problem was that they didn't disperse. In Genesis 9:1 God told Noah and his sons Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." The word 'Fill' is also translated as "Replenish", God is telling man to get out there and refill the earth with people. In Genesis 10:32 God divided people up into nations so that they may spread over the earth. Instead of scattering, the people gathered in one area and built a city out of bricks and tar mortar, they even learned to use the same language. As we saw in Genesis 11:4, they didn't want to be scattered all over the earth, they wanted to stay together.

Unfortunately for early man, staying together was their plan, not God's plan. Building a tower that reaches to God Himself was not the sin of Babel as I was taught in what passes for Sunday school in the Roman Catholic church, people could have built a hundred thousand towers that reached God, it probably would have amused Him. The real sin was the staying in one place when God wanted people to spread over the earth. 

God was not amused.
The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7)
Again - the Us in verse 7 is the holy trinity of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. When God said "now nothing with they purpose to do will be impossible for them" it does not mean that man could now aspire to be like God and become omnipotent, just the opposite is much closer to what God feared. In this sentence the word "purpose" means "imagine" and we know that people can image some fairly nice things to do. The problem is that it's a lot more fun to imagine evil things to do, and we're really good at imagining evil things to do. God had just wiped out the entire earth for imagining and doing all forms of bad things. 

And down They did come, and the party was officially over. 
So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:8-9)
As I mentioned yesterday, if the Lord wants you to go somewhere, you go. If the Lord wants you to be a floor mat, you get down. If the Lord wants you to fly, you're going to ruin your favorite jacket sprouting wings. The Lord confused our languages forcing us to spread out and seek out areas where we could live without those funny sounding foreigners messing stuff up. Staying in one place and building the tower was  a collective act of defiance against God, an intentional usurpation of His will. Spreading out fulfilled his wishes. 

Incidentally, the word Babel is Hebrew for "confusion", being a country boy at heart I would agree that a good name for a city is Confusion. Babel takes the form of another word we are familiar with: Babylon. 

Things are starting to make more sense, aren't they

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