September 29 Lesson
God Scatters the People
September 29, Lesson 5
Purpose: To recognize the temptation to be as powerful and important as God
Bible Lesson: Genesis 11:1-9
Key Verse: (Genesis 11:8) Then the Lord dispersed them from there over all of the earth, and they stopped building the city.
By Dr. John Brantley
Our computers use the Binary code sequence above to represent the word “Genesis.” This is the universal language switches one or off, ones and zeros, communication through of technologies around the world. Crossing all dialects, cultures and languages, this code has built software, the internet and social media and global communications from Silicon Valley to most remote locations on earth and in space.
Companies likes Samsung, Apple and Motorola have devices in our very hands that bring the worlds news, archives and people in touch in remarkable ways. These gadgets promise to make us powerful, knowledgeable, connected and even found when we are lost. As incredible as these tools are we must remember they are our tools and not our salvation. With every generation of products the features expand our reach but are we any closer to God and one another?
Look closely at the stone walls of Cusco, Peru, the Pyramids of Egypt and temples of Athens, Greece and you will see unbelievable craftsmanship and stone work. We are baffled at how the work was done. What remains are structures that stand for the work of generations past. Even though the buildings remain, neither the people nor the reason such expense was undertaken. No building replaces the living God. It is also why Christ calls the church a body communicating God’s grace and power.
Our Town and Tower
I have always wondered about at least one part of this story. Why did God wait for the building to be built and then tear apart the community? On one hand, God does not micromanage us. We continue to enjoy the gift of choice and free will in all things. God is not withdrawing that part of our relationship. While on the other hand, God eternally designing a relationship of trust with us.
Does God want us to be divided rather than united? It is interesting that God does not destroy the building, but confuses the order that one language provides. Again we ask why? Being able to work together is not the problem. Building tall buildings is not the issue. Being united in our work is not the trouble either. Together these change the issue from a relationship with God into a relationship that appears to not need God at all. It is when for all political correctness we loose sight of meaningful relationship in exchange for being polity or non-offensive. God confused the languages to clear up the relationship.
Known By the Talk we Walk
In the 9th verse that city is know for his confused communication rather than the people’s master of architectural achievements. This story gives reason and purpose to the reality of different languages and different regional dialects that continue today. What happen to a people when they loose their language? JRR Tolkien used Finnish language with his characters to keep some remnant of the people alive.
What is it about our language and conversation that is confusing? At the heart of relationship is conversation. When we don’t talk we have to have a mediator, a translator or a Rosetta stone. God wants to be the one who holds our relationships together. When we build bridges without God we only build towers and structures. God builds with life and love.
Faith in Action
Easy – Learn some words of greeting and basic conversation in three different languages so you will be open to hear what someone else might say to you. Use these words to open new relationship with neighbors who speak from different cultures and stories
Challenge – When you see or hear someone on Monday through Saturday saying and doing things that don’t match up with the faith we proclaim on Sunday call them on it and remind them there are building up the wrong city, build God’s kingdom not our own..
Hymn: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,
Prayer: Open my mouth that I speak of you Oh God. Close my mouth that I might hear your through your people and your word. Amen.