God’s sovereign mercy on nations provides eternal opportunity for the Lord’s people — Part 2.

The Bible is not a history book, but it contains history. We can learn much from what the Holy Spirit chose to record.

Audio for this sermon is available upon request at the table in the back of the auditorium or online via the Audio Request Form.

Here is an overview of the 7 main sections of Bible history that can help your understanding as you study your Bible:

  1. Innocence (Genesis 1-2)
  2. Conscience (Genesis 3-8)
  3. Human Government (Genesis 9-11)
  4. Patriarchs (Genesis 12 – Exodus 19)
  5. Law (Exodus 20 – Acts 1)
  6. Grace (Acts 2 – present)
  7. Kingdom (Revelation 20)

At the end of each section, mankind rises up against God. He is patient, but He must respond with judgment when sin reaches a limit. At the beginning of the next age, God always offers the mercy of new revelation to humankind.

Confederation (verses 1-4)

In Genesis 11, we see the end of yet another era of human history. The 70 names outlined in chapter 10 represent many nations who rebelled against God’s command. His will was for mankind to spread out and fill the earth (Gen. 9:1, 7). Just 400 years after the Flood, the nearly million people now on the earth join together under Nimrod’s leadership in direct defiance of this command.

The story of “The Tower of Babel” is not about the tower, the languages, the power of a world governor, or God being against cities. It is about the sinful bent of humankind to do anything but obey God. Man will never be satisfied until he both rules the physical and the spiritual realms. This is not the first time we have seen a collective, global effort to disobey anything and everything God says—and it will not be the last.

Yet all of humankind cannot thwart the purposes of God. Left alone, we would annihilate ourselves—but God always steps in with mercy even in His judgment.

Confusion (verses 5-9)

The Lord comes down to see the tower that embodied the people’s rebellion. Historical records tell us that this was not just a tower, but a religious building with an idol and a sword at its pinnacle. How like sinful human nature! Not content with all God’s blessings, we raise a fist at God and insist on worshiping our way. Just like Satan, we are so bold and ungrateful as to want to conquer Heaven too. It is here again we see God’s judgment on the collective, global effort of man to disobey God. God could have rained down lightning bolts for this rebellion, but instead, He brought confusion through language. Communication broke down immediately, and the people had no choice but to scatter. In a frantic scene, they gathered according to their dialects, forming nations, and dispersed away from the place where God had come down.

Clarity (verses 10-32)

The Lord brings clarity to the confusion by outlining for us the descendants of Shem. From Shem comes Terah the father of Abraham who would be the father of God’s elect nation Israel. From this nation would come the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Shem’s name simply means “name”. From him would come The Name from whom all the world must be saved, Jesus.

Application Points

  • God is very interested in our lives. Sometimes when we are in rebellion against Him, He will “come down” to us too. The Lord’s discipline is always for our own potential eternal good. Is that where you are? Are you tired of fighting God? If you’re ready to give up your pursuit of “me, myself, and I,” you can accept God’s mercy right now. He doesn’t want to see you ruin yourself!
  • The tower at Babel represented a universal desire of the sinful human nature—to decide how to worship for ourselves. The attitude of Babel is still alive and well. The world is relentless in its agenda to live according to their own desires. Those who have received God’s mercy in faith know that we have no rights except to live how God says to live. In a rebellious culture, we must walk circumspectly and lovingly—not preaching our standards, but simply living as witnesses to Jesus Christ.
  • Do you worship as God desires? Are you obeying His revealed will? How can you be a better witness to Christ as you live in our secular world?

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”

Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us, be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.