Posted by: Brad Beaman | August 9, 2009

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-6

Dahi Handi (pot of ghee) Festival

Don’t be surprised when you find in many people a thirst for fame and recognition. That kind of pursuit needs to be countered by the Tower of Babel account.  

The story of the Tower of Babel is significant. It explains the diversity of languages and the scattering of peoples throughout the earth.

Building the Tower      

Genesis 11:1-4

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

At one time everyone on earth spoke the same language. Verse 4 reveals the plans and initiatives of men on earth.  Chapters 6 and 7 of Genesis told the story of man’s wickedness on earth. The result of this wickedness was God’s judgment though the flood.  There was a new beginning through Noah and his family.

Here again in Genesis chapter 11 we see the evil intentions of man. Their plan was to build a city with a tower that reached to the heavens. Their intension was to make a name for themselves and to keep from being scattered.

The plan was sinful because it was self exhortation. It was the result of their thirst for fame and recognition.

Their plan was to establish a world empire with a central base. Vs 3 their plan was outside the will of God. It was based on their man centered focus. They never take the time to seek God out about this tower. They had their own plan and they could only hope that God could bless that plan.

An exalted ego deadens our need for complete dependence on God. Everything they did was for their glory. This was to be a great tower for their names sake.

This tower was going to be something they could point to and say, “Look what we did.”


How foolish to reach up to heaven without recognizing God.  It is sad to look at any system of religion has a works orientated salvation. It is like building the Tower of Babel. Men who try to be good enough to reach God and say, look I did it. I achieved it.

 God’s plan is to come down and reach man Vs 7

7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

Jesus who is God Incarnation came down to die for you. Our task is to share Christ so they can meet the God who came down to save them. We could never reach up to God. God reached down and made a provision in Christ.

Man’s selfish plans that exclude God are plans in vain.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is God’s purpose that prevails.

Psalm 33:10-11The Lord nullifies the council of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The council of the Lord stands forever.   

The Judgment that resulted from their foolish plans are recorded in Genesis 11:5-9

Genesis 11:5-9 (New International Version)

 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

 8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel [a] —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

God came down and put a stop to the man-glorifying rebellious activity. God involves himself in the affairs of man. God did not just create the world and let it run by natural forces. God is active and involves himself in the affairs of man.

God supernaturally confused the languages. Today there are over 3,000 languages and dialects. The result is the tower work stopped because they could not understand each other.

What they tried to prevent, being scattered they promoted. Why? It was because they acted outside the will of God. We will be blessed by God when we work within his will. Not to make a name for ourselves. Human effort is futile apart from the will of God.

Psalm 121:7 Unless the Lord builds the house the workman labor in vain. Whatever work it is it must be done to God’s glory.

At the tower of Babel God confused the language. Babel means to confuse. To talk in nonsense means you are babbling.   

God’s purpose continues. Pentecost opens a new chapter. It is the tower of Babel in reverse. The Holy Spirit comes to reach those separated. Draw back not for man’s glory but for God’s glory, unified.

Not one because of a city or a tower, but one in Christ. The great commission is to carry the Gospel to every creature.

What are you doing outside the will of God? Do you have self centered plans? Have you launched a project and forgotten God?     

Making your plans leads to frustration. Serving God according to his plan brings meaning joy and peace.



  1. It’s so true. Some times we become task master forgetting our Master (God Almighty). The lives of Christians have become so mechanical that we hardly have any place for God.

    Our priorities in life needs to be examined. It should be PRAY and then PLAN not planning and then praying.

    Brad I like this article…

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