The title of this article is the theme that we want to explore this week at Southern Calvert Baptist Church in our Connect Groups. We are walking through the Bible in three years and right now, we have arrived at Genesis 11. Almost 2,000 years of human history passes between Genesis 1 and Genesis 11. So far, we have explored God’s perfect creation and the fact that mankind (human beings) was created to be the reflection of our Creator. That reflection is seen, not in our appearance, but, in our attitude, words, and actions. Mankind is a relational being just as our Creator is relational. Our relationship with the Creator impacts the way that we relate to others. All of that changed in Genesis 3 when our original ancestors, Adam and Eve, chose to disobey God and brought sin into the world. This action marred their ability to reflect God correctly. They developed a sinful nature and passed that nature on to every human ever born, with the exception of Jesus Christ. Relationships are now hard because our relationship with our Creator is marred. God promised to send a Savior to reconcile mankind to Himself and resolve mankind’s slavery to his own sin nature. Adam and Eve believed God’s promise. In Genesis 6, the entire world had become corrupted because of sin nature. God felt sorry for His creation, not that He had made them, but, He felt sorry for what they were doing to themselves. He announced judgment upon the world. Before executing that judgment in the form of a universal flood, God offered mankind a way of escape. God shared a message with one of His followers, Noah. The message was, and is, that in the midst of the consequences of sin, knowing that impending judgment is coming, God wanted to show mercy, grace, and rescue. The plan was simple. Mankind needed to hear the message and make a decision to believe and obey the message or not to believe and not obey the message. Noah shared that message with anyone who would listen. Only seven people believed the message that Noah proclaimed. Now, in Genesis 11, there is a new problem that mankind faces. It is directly connected with the old problem of sin nature. What are the people going to build their lives upon? We can either build our lives on a crooked foundation or, we can build our lives on a solid foundation. Let’s find out what mankind will choose.
I. The crooked foundation
The Bible has much to say on the subject of idolatry. Many times, we think of idols as being little statues of wood and rock, things that people bow down to and worship. While that has been the case throughout human history, and still is in some cultures, the main idea of idolatry is building on a crooked foundation. All of us are going to build our lives on something. If we build our lives on the Word of God, this is the firm foundation that will last. Jesus taught that heaven and earth would pass away but that the Word of God is eternal. If you build your life on anything, any other philosophy other than the Word of God, you are building on a crooked foundation and you live in idolatry. Building on a crooked foundation will bring about temporary consequences and can lead to eternal consequences. In Genesis 11, the people chose to build their lives on a crooked foundation. God had promised a Rescuer and that Rescuer would bring about the physical kingdom of God on the earth. Paradise was going to be restored but, it was going to be restored by God, in His timing, according to His plan. Mankind decided to restore paradise on his own, apart from God.
3 They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.
4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11)
This is idolatry. They are building on a crooked foundation. They are building their lives on their own foundation. They want to make a name for themselves, not glorify the Name of their Creator. The name of the place in which they chose to build their city and make a name for themselves is significant.
It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. (Genesis 11:2)
The plain in the land of Shinar is called Babel later in this passage. It is the location known as Babylon in the Bible. Babylon represents the world’s systems that oppose the plan of the Lord. We see this theme of uniting the entire world under one culture all throughout human history. Egypt was the first mentioned in the Bible that wanted to do this. The Assyrians wanted to do this. The neo Babylonians wanted to do this under King Nebuchadnezzar. They were followed by the Persians and then the Greeks. Finally, the Romans attempted the same feat. This was all mankind’s attempt at restoring the paradise which was lost in the Fall in Genesis 3. God is going to restore what was lost, not mankind. All who have tried, have failed because they were attempting to build on a crooked foundation. It has been and always will be an act of idolatry. Babylon, mankind’s attempt to restore paradise, is mentioned all throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Babylon is mentioned 244 times in both the Old and New Testaments. Babylon will be revived once again and become a world power before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. As I said, this tread runs through the Bible and all throughout human history. Charlemagne attempted it with the Holy Roman Empire. Napoleon Bonaparte dreamed of uniting the world under one culture and language. Hitler had a similar desire. In our modern times, the new age movement wants to reverse what they consider the damage that mankind has caused to the earth and usher in a time of peace and prosperity for the entire world. All of these are crooked foundations because they are attempting to accomplish what only God can do and what He has promised to do.
On a more personal level, what are you building your life on? Do you seek to build your own paradise for yourself or, are you seeking to build your life on the Word of God and live according to His plan for the ages? Do you know His plan for the ages?
II. The solid foundation
Jesus spoke of the solid foundation in the Sermon on the Mount.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. (Matthew 7)
The rock, according to Jesus, in this passage, is the Word of God. What does the Word of God teach on the subject of paradise being restored? This is important because it makes all the difference in our lives. We have already established from Genesis 3 that God is going to send a Savior to rescue mankind from sin. That Rescuer is also going to usher in God’s kingdom on the earth. It will happen in two waves. The first wave is the spiritual kingdom of God. The second is the physical kingdom of God. In order to be in the physical kingdom of God, we must first be in the spiritual kingdom of God.
14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1)
This is the spiritual kingdom of God. We have access to it by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. When we repent (have a change of mind) and place our faith in Jesus Christ, we are born again and adopted into the family of God. That also places us into the spiritual kingdom of God. The prophet Daniel writes extensively about the physical kingdom of God that will be ushered in by Jesus Christ.
44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
45 “Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” (Daniel 2)
The stone referenced in the above passage is Jesus Christ. He is going to crush the world systems (Babylon) and establish God’s physical kingdom on the earth. This kingdom is mentioned again in Daniel 7.
13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’
This event is explained in detail in Revelation 19-20. The physical kingdom of God on the earth will be paradise restored. Isaiah wrote about this in his prophecies.
4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
10 Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11)
Christ will be the Ruler of the world and He will rule from Jerusalem, not from Babylon. Isaiah has more to say about this kingdom.
18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
20 “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.
21 “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 “They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.
23 “They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them.
24 “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
25 “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD. (Isaiah 65)
Having discovered all of this, which will you chose? Will you seek to build your life on the desires of Babylon, to try and do things your way and create your own kingdom, or, will you surrender to God’s spiritual kingdom first so that you can experience paradise restored in the physical kingdom of God on the earth? It all depends on what you build your life now. Build on the rock, the Word of God and you will not be shaken. May the Lord bless us as we seek to build our lives on His Holy Word.