Genesis 11

DON’T talk amongst yourselves.

Back in the day, God told Noah and his sons to multiply and fill the earth.

Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 

Genesis 9:1 NLT

But time went by, and it seems their descendants weren’t really into spreading out and repopulating the planet the way God instructed them. Maybe they enjoyed each other’s company… Anyway, they instead put their efforts into building a great city with a very distinctive feature: the world’s tallest tower!

Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”

Genesis 11:4 NLT

Sounds fun, right? Only…it wasn’t what God wanted them to do. And it was all about making themselves famous. Seems kind of prideful, doesn’t it? 

Even though people were working together in peace, harmony, etc., they were off-track. No matter how utopian their situation seems, the truth is that they were united against God and his plan for humanity.

But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!” 

Genesis 11:5-6 NLT

Don’t go thinking God is a wet blanket. And he’s not afraid of people, either. That would be ridiculous. He loves his creation–humanity most of all–and he wants the best for everyone. Seeing what the people were building, he was probably concerned about what crazy stunt they might try next.

The irony is that, while there was unity on earth, there was discord  between humanity and God. While there were open lines of communication among the people of the world, there was none between them and their heavenly father.

“Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city.

Genesis 11:7-8 NLT

By flipping the script this way, God’s justice was not only merciful, but poetic. And all these years later, we can look at this situation and wonder if God sees us the same way sometimes.

Do you think he might see you sometimes, building your own city with all your like-minded friends, trying to make yourselves famous? If only you would take a moment to talk with him, you might find out if your grand plans align with his.  

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Why do you think God was bothered by the Tower of Babel? Was he worried people might be getting too powerful? Was he worried they might actually reach the heavens? What was the big deal?
  • Why was it a problem that the people of earth did not want to scatter and fill the earth? Isn’t it bad for people to be alone? Shouldn’t we all stick together?
  • After reading Genesis 11:1-8 and this devotion, do you still think God’s desire is just for everyone to live together peacefully, in harmony with nature and each other? Or does it seem that he wants a relationship with us, as well? If all he cared about was peace on earth, would he have put an end to the Babel building project?

Application: Clear Communication

Everyone was working together in perfect harmony, but God was not pleased. Let’s unpack that. 

“It seems that God wants more than your typical beauty pageant contestant.

World Peace is not enough; he wants a relationship with his people.”

  • If you agree with the statements above, find at least 5 passages of scripture to support your position.
  • If you disagree with the statements above, find at least 5 scripture passages to support your position.

Share the statements, your position on them, and your supporting scriptures with your pastor, elder, or other trusted church leader.