Read Genesis 11:8-9, and Genesis 9:1; compare with Genesis 1:28. Why is God’s dispersion redemptive?
God’s design and blessing for humans was that they would “multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1, NKJV; compare with Genesis 1:28, NKJV). Against God’s plan, the builders of Babel preferred to stick together as the same people. One reason they said they wanted to build the city was so that they would not “be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4, NKJV). They refused to move elsewhere, perhaps thinking that together they would be more powerful than they would be separated and scattered. And, in one sense, they were right.
Unfortunately, they sought to use their united power for evil, not good. They wanted to “make a name for ourselves,” a powerful reflection of their own arrogance and pride. Indeed, whenever humans, in open defiance of God, want to “make a name” for themselves, we can be sure it won’t turn out well. It never has.
Hence, in a judgment against their outright defiance, God scattered them across “the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9), exactly what they didn’t want to happen.
Interestingly enough, the name Babel, which means “door of God,” is related to the verb balal, which means “confuse” (Genesis 11:9). It is because they wanted to reach the “door” of God, because they thought of themselves as God, that they ended up confused and much less powerful than before.
“The men of Babel had determined to establish a government that should be independent of God. There were some among them, however, who feared the Lord, but who had been deceived by the pretensions of the ungodly and drawn into their schemes. For the sake of these faithful ones the Lord delayed His judgments and gave the people time to reveal their true character. As this was developed, the sons of God labored to turn them from their purpose; but the people were fully united in their Heaven-daring undertaking. Had they gone on unchecked, they would have demoralized the world in its infancy. Their confederacy was founded in rebellion; a kingdom established for self-exaltation, but in which God was to have no rule or honor.” — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 123.
|Why must we be very careful about seeking to “make a name” for ourselves?|