How important is it to obey God? We all will agree that it is very important but sometimes we get selfish and think we have a better way. This is what happened to the children of Noah. God had told them to go out from where they were and fill the earth with their families. God wanted it filled like the time before the flood without the evil.
They planned to obey God and started out doing the right thing. As they journeyed they came upon a beautiful area of land. It was so nice and they didn’t want to leave. So they thought, why not settle down here? It would be a good place to raise our families. You see, they seemed to have good reasons to stay there. Doesn’t God want us to be happy and have happy families? Here is a good place for us to be. We can start our own business and the scenery is so beautiful. It makes you feel closer to God. It must be the right thing to do. Sometimes we use the same kind of reasoning and it really is an excuse for not obeying God. When God tell us to go, we can be certain that He will take care of us. Going is always harder than staying. I don’t want to leave my parents or my friends. It’s so easy not having to decide. If I go I will have to face the unknown future. Obeying God always has good results and great rewards. But the families of Noah somehow forgot and began to focus on the here and now.
They had a meeting and decided that staying was the right thing to do. Maybe they took a vote and most of them decided that this was the best thing. It was not like they decided to disobey God, they just reasoned that God wouldn’t mind if they stayed. They probably reasoned that they had a choice. It is always easy to find reasons why we should not obey God. Adam and Eve probably thought the same way. The bible says that they settled in the land of Shinar. That is in the location of the land of Iraq.
They began to plan what they wanted to do. They had several ideas. They wanted to build a tower. First to protect them from a flood like they had experienced. It was for security. They wanted it to protect them from enemies. For protection was the second reason. A third reason was to reach up to the heavens. Maybe they thought it would help them to get closer to God. Religious reasons are always a good reason to disobey God. The most important reason of all was the one that is mentioned; to make a name. They wanted to call attention to themselves and please their neighbors. Perhaps many would come to this place to see this tower. Maybe they thought about charging admission and the money they made would be used to help the poor. Doesn’t that sound something like men would say today to make excuses for not obeying God?
They had it all planned out. They would use bricks, stone, and cement. Of course there were those who had the talents to do this. God gave us these talents so we are doing it for Him. How many times do we see people with God given talents but they are like these people. They are doing it to please themselves. They become disappointed because no-one recognizes them or gives them praise. Picture them in your mind. They are just as happy and excited as they can be. They had visions of greater things. Their decision was to stay in the land of Shinar and build themselves a city. They weren’t going to stop with the tower.
Now we don’t know how long it took for them to get the idea and to start building the tower. Think about how patient God was with them. Why did He let them get this far? Why didn’t He stop them before? These are some of the answers God does not give us for good reasons. I am certain that down the road when they looked at all of this they would remember that God’s ways and timing were perfect. There are times when we ask “Why Lord?” But later on in life we will understand that God did what was best for us. We may not always understand why, but God always does what is best.
We will now consider what God thought about this activity. He gave them time to think about all of this. The problem was that they were so taken up with this project they didn’t even think about what God wanted. They prided themselves in their abilities to get this done that they failed to remember what God’s original command was. God had a plan but man no longer cared about obeying Him. Why did they have to scatter all over when they could raise families here? God said that because they were so determined to build this tower, he was going to do something to stop them. What was God’s plan? Was He going to cause another flood? Maybe rain down fire from Heaven to show His anger? Maybe He would cause an earthquake or send plagues of flies or locusts.
Maybe God could have done this but His way was far gentler.
God decided to confuse their language. In other words when they spoke they couldn’t understand one another. Can you imagine one called “Hey Jake hand me a brick” and Jake handed him a pail of water. Or maybe another worker cried “Ike, hand me some cement” and Ike handed him a hammer.
That is what happened. Because God confused their language they couldn’t complete their tower. They left their project and began to do as God commanded them. God gave that land a new name He called it Babel, because it was there that He confused their speech.
That word Babel means confusion and it served to remind people throughout history of what happened. That is not the end. In that area it later became known as Babylon which means “The city of destruction” Babylon throughout the bible is mentioned often as enemies of God’s people. Finally, she will become a destroyed city. Here is where it all began because god’s people decided to disobey Him.
As we close this lesson what are some the things we can learn?
1. When God tell us what He wants us to do He always promises to be with us to help us. It is always wise to obey God.
2. We are born with a selfish nature and we are often tempted to think of how it will benefit ourselves. We will think of ways to make something happen to us. That is human nature. What is right is to think “will it please God and will it help others?”
3. Disobedience is always a bad idea. Because God sees and rules over everything He is still in control. Remember we can always find excuses for disobeying God. But they will hurt us later,
4. Sometimes because we cannot see God we think He doesn’t notice what is going on. Disobedience to God has bad results. Somewhere down the road we will be sorry that we didn’t obey Him.
5. When we decide to obey God we will always experience His blessing and presence.