GENESIS 11: 1-9
The account for our attention today from Genesis 11 could well be a summary of our own generation.
It is a parable of the destructiveness of pride – human beings seeking to glorify themselves in opposition to God. It is interesting that following the repopulation of the earth after the flood (chapter 10) people begin to make a name for themselves – become autonomous, but their insecurity drives them to work together to develop a city of renown with its sky-high tower.
Peter Bruegl, the famous artist who paints some magnificent Bible scenes with such minute detail has a painting of his vision of this tower which I would have loved to have included but don’t know how!!!
The commentator, Derek Kidner points out the absurdity and the gravity of this building project even the building materials are themselves ‘man made’. The serious side of God’s reaction comes from His father-like heart. He recognises their activity is ‘only the beginning‘, so He acts in love to prevent further recklessness. This is not someone threatened with a rival!
V4 exposes the attitude of pride that also hampers our own trusting relationship with God.
If we jump in to the New Testament (Acts 2:6 pp) we discover at Pentecost, the gospel being heard by everyone present in their own language; reversing the Babel intervention. Zephaniah 3:9 points to the final reversal of divided speech: ‘ at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him with one accord’
The building may have been spectacular but the intent was a serious matter. I wonder if, as a nation, if that is not the path we are following too. Lord have mercy on our world.
Just one other interesting thing to note, is that Babylon – called itself Bab-ili (Arabic) – ‘gate of god’. One of its wonders was a huge ziggurat (temple) built on the top of a man made mountain, though as a city it was synonymous with pretensions, persecutions, superstitions and pleasure seeking. Its riches were its eventual doom and destruction.
LUKE 5: 12-26
Two men in need of physical healing come to Jesus.
The first man recognises Jesus’ supernatural ability and comes to Him, humbly trusting His power to heal his leprosy v 12. It is interesting that Jesus both disregards and conforms to the requirements of the LAW. He touches the leper (forbidden), but then He requires the healed man to present himself to the priests and to offer the required sacrifice of thanksgiving. v14. Mark 1:45 exposes the reason for Jesus’ recognition of the law – to prevent emotional response from the crowd.
The second man has no dialogue at all with Jesus, but is brought by friends who must themselves have believed in Jesus’ supernatural powers. Jesus here recognises the link between ‘a troubled soul and a broken body.’ ( E.M. Blaiklock St Luke p 17) . Jesus in this reading declares His ability to both forgive sins and heal sickness. Whether it is our own personal struggle (sickness, addiction, fear etc) or whether it is our concern for a friend, it is Jesus who can bring eventual peace and comfort. Let us make sure we are trusting Him and like Him withdraw and pray v16.
Peter and Elizabeth