When Man Forgets God

Bible Book: Genesis  11
Subject: Sin; Babel, Tower of; Forgetting God; Rebellion
Series: Genesis
[Editor's Note: This is sermon 8 of 8 on Genesis by Dr. Willmore.]

Almost immediately after the flood, we are reminded again of the devastating effect of the fall of   Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There is now an inherent moral condition that will be passed down from generation to generation and will affect every human being. The flood revealed the penalty of sin: death. But it did remove the power of sin: disobedience to the will of God. In Genesis, chapter eleven, we are reminded again that sin is a condition of the heart. Solomon addressed this subject in Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

The story of Babel reflects the origin of sin. It resembles the actions of Lucifer in Isaiah, chapter fourteen where we find Lucifer saying to God, "I will" five times. This is a clear revelation of a heart set against God. And now, in Genesis 11:1-4, we find that people said three times, "Let us.". This is another revelation of hearts set against God. The chief aim of the people in this passage of scripture is to make a name for themselves.

Man, once again, seeks to be the centerpiece of his world and the object of his own adoration. Again, we see mankind refusing God his rightful place in his heart. Our text reveals man planning a life without God, and God's judgment upon his action.

I. Man's Plan (v. 1-4)

Greed and pride gain a stronghold and man makes plans for his life without consulting God.

In Genesis 1:27-28 we see God's original plan for man, "God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion..."God did not say anything about settling down and becoming self-centered. There is a lesson here for the church today.

In addition to settling down, man planned to build a city. His intention was to build his own society and create security with his own hands. His security would be in brick and mortar and the work of his own hands, rather than in God. (vv 3-4) Man also intended to make a name for himself. (V.4) His plan was to increase his reputation rather than increasing the name of God and glorifying the Kingdom of God. Again, there is a lesson here for the church today.

II. God's Punishment (v. 7-9)

God reversed every plan made by man. Man's utopia was turned into ruin and confusion. After all man had said he would do (vv. 1-4) God spoke (vv. 5-8) and said what He would do. The tower that was intended to be a monument to man's self-sufficiency became a monument to the Sovereign Creator God who rules and reigns over His creation. What was meant to be a monument to the power of man became a monument to his failure.

The apostle James has a word on this subject, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit.' Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that?' But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." (James 4:13-16)

Babel is a testimony to the fact that life loved without God is utter confusion and failure.