WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 29, 2013
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THE PROUD BROUGHT LOW
(Build for GOD, not for yourself)
Genesis 11:1-9 explains how the “race of mankind”, the only race in the beginning, became divided and scattered throughout the ancient world by GOD. In those days, the people prided themselves in their own skills and intellect, pretty much the way man does today, and what they prided themselves in, eventually became their downfall.
In these few verses, Moses relates the story of the “Tower of Babel”, where GOD created all of the various languages that now divide our races and cultures across the globe, as an “act of judgment” against the rebellious early descendants of Noah. GOD had ordered the descendants of Noah to “multiply and fill the earth with people” (Genesis 9:1), but instead, they rebelled against GOD, and decided to settle together in one place, the area that is now known as “Babylon”, which had been developed and built by Nimrod. Apparently Nimrod wanted all the people to reside in his cities under his control.
GOD’s people arrogantly boasted of their assumed “superior knowledge”, and sought to build cities, and a tower, that would reach up to the Heavens, thinking that the false gods, or goddesses that they worshiped, would come down to them. In fact, the word “babel” actually means “the gate of the gods”. Here we see the people begin to build “a step-like edifice” in the form of a pyramid, called “Ziggurats”, which were later associated with religious worship of false gods, by pagan sects, in the ancient Middle East, as well as in South America.
The events here in chapter 11, actually occurred chronologically before the events of chapter 10, which gives us a breakdown of the various tribes, languages, territories, and nations that the LORD formed as judgment for the building of the “Tower of Babel”. This fact is explained in Genesis 10:25 where we see that one of the sons of Eber, named Peleg, which means “division”, was born, and lived during this time. This was approximately five generations after the flood that destroyed the earth.
In verse 1 we see that the whole world spoke the same language. As the population slowly migrated eastward, they decided to settle in the plain they called “Shinar” near Babylon. There they decided to build a city, and they began to make great piles of brick, which they burned thoroughly before using. They also collected “natural asphalt” to use as mortar, and they began to build this imposing tower as “a monument to their own greatness”, and, as “a symbol of unity” that would serve to keep them together forever in one area (this, of course, was in direct disobedience to GOD).
However, GOD, WHO is always on watch from on high, evaluated the actions of these Shinarites as evil and very arrogant, because they failed to consult with HIM. And so their desires to increase their unity and strength was seen by GOD as rebellious, and having the potential for the greatest evil ever.
Here in this passage GOD shows HIS absolute power and majesty over all things with HIS swift and sound judgment, and HE simply “reverses” everything that the Shinarites held dear to themselves, in this case, their “communication”, and their “unity” as a people. Here we see GOD, first, confounded the languages, presumably so that only small groups of people would be able to understand each other, and then, HE scattered those small groups abroad, to be separated unto themselves, over all the earth, just as HE had originally instructed them to do.
It never profits one to rebel against GOD’s will, and HE has demonstrated down through the years just how foolish that can be. Pride always precedes a fall and the ill-advised building project by these Shinarites will forever stand as an historical example of “a haughty spirit” manifesting itself before a fall from grace. The Almighty GOD in Heaven can never be a captive of HIS OWN world, its people, or, our opinions about HIS sovereignty. GOD is free, and HE is subject to no one’s will but HIS OWN.
Each person has to ultimately make up their minds whether they want to reside with the prostitute called “Babylon”, or with the “Heavenly bride” called Jerusalem. Babylon is the biblical symbol of “pride”, “immorality”, and “rebellion against GOD”. Jerusalem will forever stand as symbol of light and hope for GOD’s true people, those who actually embody the “Church” in their hearts, where GOD always looks to see, if HE can see HIMSELF.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website