Many of us have read and heard, whether in Sunday school, from the preaching in church and others about the tower being built by man to reach God’s space that resulted in the birth of multiple languages as a consequence of man’s rebellion. But have you heard the entire story? Most of us do not and, in fact, we have just a rudimentary story summation of a very serious situation in the history of man. After the Great Deluge, we find Noah and his three sons: Shem, Japhet and Ham, all born a hundred years pre-flood, eventually proceeding down to the plains (later name Shinar) now told to populate the land as God had commanded. However, there were many who still were hesitant to come down to the plains for fear of another flood of the magnitude known in the lore.
God commanded and this is something to bear in mind during this story in that commands require obedience and God never commands that which man cannot do nor would command something not in the best interests of His creation. Despite the flood, the relationship it seems was not any closer by this point among God and man; hence, rebellion and the inherent nature of man determined to do his own thing apart from God had not died with the flood. The seeds that corrupted man and his world via Adam, Eve and the Serpent were still in the gene pool from Noah.
God had intended that man would spread to cover the entire earth and enjoy the abundance of the land and blessings He wanted to demonstrate as His love. As man’s history even today is replete, defying what God has commanded brings consequences, all the while still prodding man with every calamity to wake up and do as He wanted man to obey and willing do because of the good benevolence of God and His Love. The population reacted by refusing to budge, preferring instead to stay closely connected, and pride also arose giving them a false sense of security in what they viewed as their self-made prosperity and abundance.
One would think that with the flood wrecking just devastation of unimaginable horrors that the lessons would not be lost on succeeding generations. God did not experience pleasure or joy in the almost total annihilation of His crowning achievement in Creation, to come to destroying nature, animal and man in the process. Man had sunk to such depths of depravity that it polluted nature and animals in the process as well. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, they cohabited with both animal and nature; after the fall, animal and nature feared man. The only saving grace of humanity at this point was a glimmer of light in the person of Noah and his family as they exhibited a desire to obey God’s laws, suffering harsh treatment at the hands of their own community. This brings to mind a point to ponder: if it had not been for Noah’s obedience to the commands of God, what would be our story today?
As we continue reflecting on the Tower of Babylon, the populace willingly disobeyed in which many fears developed, such as fear of sedition that would cause divisions among the populace, leading to further fears of oppression halting their lifestyle as they enjoyed, were among many reasons for hard-hearts and stubborn minds to listen. Don’t know about your view on the aspect of fear, a harsh taskmaster at best, played on man’s erroneous judgment skills feeding into continual defying God and what is a common quip about fear: that which you fear usually comes upon you. So fear or faith? Which option would you rather take? Sometimes the choices are not even clear; however, God’s wisdom is enough to trust God and that seems to be crux in the relationship of God and man continuously.
As this story goes, we will advance forward to the key character in this horrible charade: Nimrod, the grandson of Ham and great grandson of Noah, who stirred the pot of rebellion for his own selfish aims. Feeding this rebellious spirit, Nimrod stroked the fires of rebellion by encouraging the population to defy God, discounting the true source of their prosperity as a people was not God, rather it was due to Nimrod’s leadership. From Noah onward, the people enjoyed a government that was balanced on the instructions as given to Noah from God until Nimrod, who changed free government under a theocracy to one of tyranny. Nimrod’s goal in his tyrannical government was to force the people to depend on him and not God, all the while planning to make revenge on God for killing his forefathers should God ever bring another flood on earth. How was Nimrod attempting this feat? By building a tower that would be so high that the waters could not reach it and it was aimed for the heavens, the dwelling place of God. As I am thinking on this last part, Nimrod was planning literally to bring his battle to the very door stoop of the lower heaven of God’s realm. Talk about open defiance!
The sad state of the mindset of the people, combined with their irrational fears, and Nimrod’s tyrannical rule, they followed his lead. With full-fledged commitment, energy, determination and enduring pain and hardship to attain the objective, this tower was built faster than even had been originally expected. In fact, the Tower of Babylon was well constructed, almost invincible in purpose. Again, God saw that despite the Great Deluge, man was no wiser for it than previous generations pre-flood. God resolved not to bring about another flood as had occurred in the magnitude of destruction since He had promised this would not happen again in the way it destroyed all life: animal, nature and man. God’s solution to this rebellion, arrogance and pride was to cause confusion in speaking. Once of one accord in communication, now, the project was hindered as thousands of tongues and dialects proceeded to confound mankind. The destruction of the Tower of Babylon was intense, dramatic and complete by the command of God to the winds of nature and other elements to obliterate all their work of evil.
Thus, this Tower of Babylon has become known as the Tower of Babel, which means ‘confusion’ in Hebrew. This story is loaded with many nuggets of truth and in reading, re-reading and reflection, one can draw many truths and conclusions of various ranges. If man had obeyed God and spread out in all four directions voluntarily, what would man have become today? His command was simple, not difficult to do, and surely, would have spread wealth among the populations and, most importantly of all, obedience is better than sacrificing their self made sense of prosperity and comfort for the best part of obedience: abundant blessing. Man can never create the abundance of blessing of man apart from God. God created man for many purposes; man needs God; God does not need man. And, as we can see an example of this in the Great Deluge: God is the ultimate source of all and in all areas; for a moment in time, man became almost the way of the dinosaur: extinct, if it had not been for a spark of obedience in Noah who knew the source of his life.