Of Faith & Doubt – Walk Through the Word
Genesis 11 opens with a story that many of us have heard since childhood: the Tower of Babel. But I’d like to take a different angle on this story in today’s sermon on Walk Through the Word. I’d like to focus on fulfilling the calling of God in your life.
Two chapters earlier, God commanded Noah to spread throughout the whole world after the Great Flood. He said,
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.Genesis 9:1 ESV
Yet, just about two generations after Noah, humanity made a choice to rebel against God’s purpose for them. Why did God want humanity scattered across the world? Why didn’t humanity listen? And what lesson can we learn that’s applicable to our lives today?
Let’s focus in on these three questions for the next few moments.
The plan of God
Before the Flood, all of humanity was gathered together and filled the land as we’ve shown in previous lessons. When man builds cities, sin and moral decay swiftly follow. God knew the evil that resides in humanity–just look today at our cities from New York to Las Vegas which has earned the deplorable name “Sin City.” So God resolved to spread mankind across the planet. He did not want groups of humans clumped up together which would lead to rebellion against his plan. Remember, He knows our nature better than we do.
We don’t need evidence to prove God’s Word. Frankly, I believe that science is supported by the Word of God and not the other way around. And there are many factors that show that all humanity was once of one language, from common language roots and similarities to astronomical charts that are relatively consistent in how the stars are analyzed across ancient civilizations.
So the Bible’s statement that “nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them (Gen. 11:6b)” is very accurate.
Now, this is where I want to spend the most of our time together. Mankind had an answer to God’s declaration. And that answer was a firm NO!
They wouldn’t scatter across the world.
They wouldn’t believe that another Flood would not happen.
They would stick together, because there’s safety in numbers, right? They would build a tower that would reach to heaven so, just in case another Flood happened, they would be safe.
You see, the sad reality is that, within just a few years of the Flood, humanity already had forgotten that God is faithful to His Word. They didn’t see this as the work of God. It was a story told by old men (Noah and his sons), and not a living reality. How we can compare that to the way the Word of God is treated today! Regardless of how many signs and wonders God does to prove His Word, regardless of how many prophecies we see fulfilled before our eyes, to many the Word of God is simply the words of old men that can be debated, questioned, and reasoned with.
Then as now humanity chooses doubt instead of faith.
So, ruled by fear, humanity chose to follow a logical course of action. God had said He wouldn’t destroy the earth with water. But they didn’t believe that. So they instituted their own safety plan–a tower which could serve as a temple for worship as well as an escape route in the event that the Flood happened again.
You see, humanity didn’t question that there was a Flood. The evidence was all around them. But as their faith in God waned, their trust in their own ability and self-worship grew.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower bwith its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:4
Their decisions were not made by faith but doubt. Fear kept them from accomplishing the very purpose that God set them here to do and, as a result, they turned to idolatry. So today, you cannot accomplish the plan of God as long as you are afraid of failure. Or of the devil. Or anything in this life.
Being the man or woman, boy or girl, that God wants you to be requires you to step out in courage and faith. Staying where you are in doubt or self-reliance might give you the illusion of security but you will never have the testimony that you would have had had you obeyed God and trusted His Word.
We see that this doubt actually led them away from the God who had spared their ancestor Noah (the God to whom they owed their lives) and led them to idolatry. You see, God’s Word will always convict a heart that is not right with him. If your attitude, or perspective in live isn’t pleasing to God, don’t expect Him to leave you alone. God comes to chasten us, to hammer us into a state that we’re finally pleasing to Him (see Hebrews 12:6).
And God didn’t leave humanity alone.
God confused their language and showed that He is the master of every situation. If they wouldn’t obey Him of their own free will then He would force the situation to bend to His Will.
Why? Why does God care? Because He is the God of love and He knows that if left alone we will destroy ourselves.
It’s taken 4,000 years for our species to come back to a similar amount of evil as the world had before the Great Flood. And that’s with us being scattered by geographical and linguistic barriers. What would have happened if we had all been together speaking the same language?
Before the Flood, when everyone spoke the same language and dwelled together, God had to destroy mankind in only 2,000 years. It was His mercy that caused us to scatter. He was saving us from ourselves, and giving us as a chance to know Him as individuals.
Like early humanity, each of us has a choice. We can stay behind the crumbling tower walls of our unbelief or we can step out in faith and embrace the challenges of the Word and life that God sets before us.
God wants to bring out the best in you. So He will prod at your life, reach after you day after day, trying to get you to a place that you’re fulfilling His plan and not simply hiding behind your doubts, fears, and carnal insecurities.
Don’t build a tower of confusion in your life. Step out in faith and walk with God.