Genesis Chapter 11 gives us the account of the building of the so-called Tower of Babel. The chapter begins, "the whole earth was of one language." Verse 9 explains that the place came to be named "Babel," because there the LORD confounded the language of all the earth." Technically, there was nothing sinful about making bricks, burning them to be hard as stone, mixing slime for mortar, even building a city, and building a tower. The problem was the goal, the intention behind it. Human beings cannot ascertain the motives of other humans with certainty, but God looks on the heart of man. He knows what is in man. He knows that man's heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. God knew that their goal was to build a tower that could reach unto heaven (verse 4). Let's put it in the context of the larger narrative in Genesis, the Pentateuch, and the canon of Scripture.
To go back 8 chapters quickly (Genesis 3), when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit, God drove them out of the Garden lest they should access the tree of life and live forever. God stationed cherubim there with a flaming sword to prevent anyone from approaching eternal life of their own terms and in their own way. After the rhythm of Genesis 5 - "and he died....and he died...and he died..." and then Enoch does not die, we see that Enoch found a door to the tree of life, and that door was walking with God by faith. He approached God on God's terms.
No one but Noah and his seven family members survived the flood. No one survived on their own terms. No one built a bonus ark. No one found a mountaintop high enough. No one built some sort of raft. There were no survivors. Only those who approached God on His terms survived.
You and I do not approach God on our terms - good works, turning over a new leaf, being baptized, joining a church, ensuring our good outweighs our bad (as defined by us). No one comes to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6). Jesus is the Door. He that has the Son has life, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You cannot build a tower to God. If you are to see God, it will not be the work of your hands that gets you there. You will see God only if you place your faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, who paid the price for your sin and defeated death on your behalf.
So God got involved in Genesis 11. The LORD came down and confounded their languages. People splintered off into linguistic groups and scattered all over the earth. The tower did not get completed. They did not reach heaven. The height of human achievement in that city came to ruin.
Are you in that trap? Are you trying to approach God on your own terms? Are you thinking that you will approach God through the works of your hands? Let the situation at Babel in Genesis 11 show you that you can only approach God through His terms. He took the initiative and created a way back to Himself. That Way is Jesus. Place your faith and trust in Him today. No one comes to the Father but through Him.
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