The Tower Of Babel

Genesis 11:1-9

There are seven interesting points of contrast between this scene and the one recorded in Acts 1. The gift of new tongues by the Holy Spirit is the divine remedy for the pride that results in the strife of tongues. We have here-

I. A Revelation of Human Ambition. "Out of the heart are the issues of life" (Pro 4:23). A straw may indicate which way the wind blows. Observe-

1. The Object in View. "Let us make us a name." The natural man seeks a name for himself, and one of his own making. Name-making is a very common and popular business, although it never pays well in the end. See the failure of three name-makers in Numbers 16. It is possible to be doing Christian work with the same end in view.

2. The Method Employed. "Let us build a city and a tower." This purpose of theirs betrays a felt need of protection, abiding fellowship, and future prospect. Every man needs a city of safety and a tower of hope. The self-righteous seek to build them for themselves. "Going about to establish their own righteousness" (Rom 10:3). Thank God, Jesus Christ has built such a city and tower where all may have salvation and hope.

3. The Means Used. "Let us make brick." Those who would save themselves by their own works have much to do. They have not only the building, but the very bricks to make. Not only to do good works, but they have the very desires to manufacture (a hard task), and, after all is done, it is only brick at the best. In Luk 18:11-12 we see one of these brick-makers busy at work.

II. A Manifestation of Divine Displeasure. What will all our building do for us if it does not please God? It is only wood, hay, stubble-fit for the fire.

1. The Divine Inspection. "The Lord came down to see what they had built." Every man's work will be tried. This is a very solemn truth. The eyes of Jehovah will scan every brick or jewel. Every motive and act alike must be tested. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb 11:6).

2. The Sudden Confusion. "The Lord did there confound, so they left off to build." What a change when God comes! When the Spirit of God comes upon the self-righteous He makes them leave off their vain and presumptuous works. Think of it. The presence of God means confusion to the religious self-seeker. What may be very pleasing in the eyes of men may be suddenly turned into Babel at the approach of God. "He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded" (1Pe 2:6).

3. Complete Dispersion. "From thence did the Lord scatter them abroad." The very thing they were labouring to prevent was the thing that came upon them. Proud men labour to save themselves from being cast out by God at last, and their faithless works are securing for them the doom they strive to avoid. The city of God, seek ye it (Heb 11:10). The name of the Lord is a strong tower; flee unto it (Pro 18:10).


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Related sermons from Alexander Maclaren's Exposition Of Holy Scriptures - Genesis:
An Example Of Faith Genesis 12:1-9
Abram And The Life Of Faith Genesis 12:1-9
Going Forth Genesis 12:5
Coming In Genesis 12:5
The Man Of Faith Genesis 12:6-7
Life In Canaan Genesis 13:3
The Importance Of A Choice Genesis 13:1-13

More expository sermons on Genesis Chapter 11