THE CONFUSION OF TONGUES
[Genesis:9:1-3], [Genesis:9:7-17]; [Genesis:11:1-9]; [Genesis:10:1-32]).
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD“ (Jeremiah 17:5).
I The Earth Repopulated
1. A blessing was pronounced upon Noah and his posterity, [Genesis:9:1-3].
2. The rainbow was given as a token of God‘s covenant for the preservation of man, [Genesis:9:8-17].
3. The earth was repopulated by the descendants of Noah, [Genesis:9:1], [Genesis:9:7]; [Genesis:10:1-32].
II Man Against God
1. The people of the earth were united by a common language and speech, [Genesis:11:1].
2. United by one speech and language, the people of the earth joined to make a name for themselves, [Genesis:11:2-4]; [Psalms:49:11]; [Isaiah:14:13-14]; [Habakkuk:2:5].
III The Evil Alliance of Men Destroyed
1. God observed that all men were united in an evil cause, and that they would not be restrained from further evils, [Genesis:11:5-6]; [Genesis:6:5].
2. God confused their language, and caused the people of the earth to be scattered, [Genesis:11:7-9]; [Job:5:12-14]; [Isaiah:37:26-27]; [1 Corinthians:1:19-20].
Aftermath of the Flood
When the flood had spent its fury upon the earth, there were but eight people alive -- Noah and his wife, his three sons, and their wives. When once again the earth was habitable, these remaining eight received God‘s blessing, and they were commanded to go forth and replenish the earth.
God made a covenant with Noah and his sons, for perpetual generations, that He would not again destroy the earth with the waters of a flood. God declared that He would place a rainbow in the cloud as a reminder to all who would see it. Ever since that time that beautify phenomena of nature, the rainbow, has reminded men of God‘s promise not to destroy the world again with water. There was every opportunity presented to Noah, his sons, and their descendants to so employ their lives before God that life would have been most blessed in every respect. The antediluvians with all their wickedness were gone; Noah and his family were God-fearing people, and with God‘s blessings the future looked bright. There was reason to believe that after the terrible lesson of the flood, men would take warning and follow after righteousness and serve the Lord.
It is not unreasonable to suppose that Noah told the story of the flood many times to his grandchildren, and their children and that the story of the flood was well known to the generations of Noah. Also the earth for many generations bore fresh and vivid evidence of the deluge that had swept the earth of all its wicked inhabitants. How great a warning this must have spoken to the descendants of Noah of the folly of forsaking God! But the Bible records that it was not long before they, too, had forsaken and refused the ways of righteousness and turned to their own self-sufficiency.
The people of the earth were closely associated because of their common language and speech. They soon became agreed in a common purpose, and they combined their talents, abilities, and strength to bring that purpose into operation. Unfortunately, they had purposed to make a tower that would “reach unto heaven,“ and to make a name for themselves. Their building was destined to failure because they had left God out of their plans.
Monument of Rebellion
Men whose hearts are darkened by sin have no right conception of God, or of God‘s power. What these men hoped to obtain by the building of a mammoth tower is a little vague. They feared to be scattered abroad; and perhaps they felt, as do most sinners, that God could not see them in a crowd. They were not lacking for some evil genius to lead them in this mass rebellion against the government of God, even as the nations of the world have not lacked for some unprincipled person to defy God‘s precepts. The Psalmist expressed this truth, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision“ [Psalms:2:2-4]). This is exactly what happened when the tower of Babel was being built.
Nimrod and Great Babylon
The tenth chapter of Genesis, often called the table of nations, lists the generations of Noah. Here is chronicled the names of the tribes from which sprang all the nations of the earth. God recorded these in His Word in evidence that He had not yet finished dealing with them. His plan of salvation was eventually revealed to include them all.
One of the descendants of Ham, a son of Noah, was Nimrod. His name means “rebellion.“ He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; and most Bible students believe that he was a mighty hunter in an evil sense. That is, he used his great prowess to dominate men for his evil purposes; but his deeds did not go unobserved by God. In other words, his deeds were so evil that they came under the particular notice of God. “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel“ [Genesis:10:9-10]). It is on the basis of this text that the reasonable premise is given that Nimrod was the guiding personality in uniting the people into the work of building the tower of Babel. He perhaps was one of the first dictators in the world.
It is thought that on the site of the tower of Babel the kingdom of Babylon had its beginning. The Babylonian meaning of Babel is “gate of God“; but, the meaning in the Hebrew is “confusion“ -- and it was called that after God scattered the people by confusing their languages. It is significant that Babylon, that great empire so renowned for its great wealth, pride, pomp, and all that is the opposite of the Kingdom of God, should have had its beginning in the evil heart of Nimrod. “An evil man out of the evil treasure [of the heart] bringeth forth evil things“ [Matthew:12:35]).
Despite the evil ability of Nimrod, he would not have had such success if the hearts of the people had not also been evil and susceptible to such schemes of worldly glory and fame. The dictators of our modern day would not have had such success if they had not found many to help them in their evil causes who were as willing students in evil as their teachers were quick to teach them.
No Fear of God
An unbiased study of the Book of Genesis should convince anyone of the depravity of the unregenerate heart, and the desperate sinfulness of men when they are left to their own devices, without interference by God. The sin principle came into the soul of man as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden. No good works that man can do will remove it. The threatenings of neither God nor man will turn a sinner into a righteous man. No amount of good resolutions will avail to remove sin from the human soul. Only through the Blood of Jesus Christ as it is applied to the soul will sin be removed from the souls of men.
Although God destroyed all but eight people from the earth, and those eight were righteous people, yet soon the peoples of the earth had again utterly forsaken God.
Men are born in sin (see [Psalms:51:5]; [Romans:3:23]), and the righteousness of their parents will not give them salvation. Righteousness cannot be passed on from parents to their children, but each individual must seek God’s righteousness for himself. Noah‘s righteousness did not avail for his descendants when they refused to obtain such righteousness for themselves. Their refusal to seek God for themselves made them willing dupes for such an evil business as that of building a tower as a symbol of their own supposed self-sufficiency and might.
It is astounding that within a few short generations the peoples of the earth should so lose their fear of God that they did not hesitate to join themselves in a work of defiance against God. The people no doubt knew of God‘s promise that He would not again destroy the earth with water. The rainbow in the clouds was an ever-present reminder of that promise; so perhaps they felt safe from God‘s wrath. Yet with the still visible and fresh evidence before them daily of the terrible destruction that had been upon the world and the people that dared to forsake God, they should have reasoned that God could bring as terrible judgements upon them if they sinned as their forefathers sinned. Sin has such demoralising power and is such a potent anaesthesia to the soul that men lose concern for the terrible risks they take when they break the laws of God.
God observed that because of their common language they were unified in their common purpose to build a great tower that was symbolic of their independence from God. Because of this unity of purpose there would be nothing to restrain them from further evils in the future. So God confused their language and speech, which caused the people to be scattered throughout the land. The Lord does not permit the world to go its way without some restraint. If the Lord did not intervene in the affairs of men, the world would soon be totally given over unto sin and lawlessness.
May the men of this twenty-first century consider that the day is fast approaching when the world is again going to be joined in a common cause, under the leadership of the evil genius of Satan. The Antichrist, the false prophet, and the beast will rule the world in a trinity of evil. The world will bow to their will, and God will be defied by this government of tyranny. But God shall again confound the peoples of the world as effectually as He did when He confounded the builders of the tower of Babel when He confused their speech.
1. Were the people righteous or unrighteous after the flood?
2. How do we know that the descendants of Noah were familiar with the event of the flood?
3. What common purpose did the people of the earth have? What united them in this purpose?
4. Who was Nimrod? and where was his kingdom, Babel, founded?
5. What does Babel mean?
6. Why were not the people who built the tower of Babel afraid of God?
7. Why did the Lord confuse the speech of the people?
8. Why did God stop the building of the tower of Babel?
9. Does God intervene In the affairs of men today? Why?
10. Why did not God destroy the builders of the tower of Babel as He did the antediluvians