the mouse that roared

February 2, 2017

Image result for picture of a roaring mouse

The Formation of the Nations

When is a nation not a nation? When the United Nations was founded fifty nations were involved. Forty years later more than three times that number were member nations. The impression is sometimes given that a nation is a nation when it produces a flag, starts an airline, establishes a mission to the U.N., and gets an invitation to the Olympics! But clearly there is much more to nationhood than that!

The sons of Japheth developed nations with unique identities. “The Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone according to his language, according to their families, into their nations” (Gen. 10:5). They had their own territorial identity, there was a social identity in their clans or families, they had a historical identity which was carefully recorded in their genealogies, and they had distinctive cultural identity in their unique languages. (a whole different discussion would be have we ceased to be a nation because these qualities are no longer applicable?)

Nimrod, descendant of Ham, “a mighty one on the earth … a mighty hunter before the Lord” (vv. 8-9), whose prowess was recognized by his contemporaries and whose exploits in building, developing, and expanding remind one of a modern-day entrepreneur, was also a prominent force in the division of the human race into its national groupings.

This chapter is a veritable gold mine of information for those who are interested in the geography of the ancient world and the ethnic divisions and dispersions of the ancient people. It should also be noted that the genealogies recorded are not intended to be complete and that the events of this chapter happened after the events recorded in Genesis 11:1-9.

The Frustrations of the Nations

Nimrod among other magnificent achievements had founded Babel. The people who gathered there all spoke the same language, and they set about the task of building the city despite the fact that their building resources were pitifully inadequate. “They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar” (Gen. 11:3). Their decision to build a “tower whose top is in the heavens” is therefore even more surprising but apparently their reasoning had been affected by their stated objective to “make a name for ourselves” (v. 4). Some people see this as the first organized attempt at humanistic society which would be convinced of its own ability to survive under its own steam and to promote its own interests and protect itself from all ills.

But God, who had shown His interest and involvement in the affairs of Adam and Noah, not to mention many others, was not unaware of what was going on in Babel. “The Lordcame down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built” (v. 5). Self-sufficiency and independence of God were again raising their heads and once again the Lord stepped in saying, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (v. 7). The result of this action was the dispersion of the people, the rejection by God of man’s attempt to find security in man independent of God, and a divine rebuff to man’s attempts to reach heaven and bring God down rather than to humbly look for God to take the initiative and reach down to His erring children.

There is an interesting pun on the name Babel. In its original form it can mean “gate of God,” but it can also mean “confusion” (see Gen. 11:9). It may be permissible to see something of the pun at work in modern attempts by man to reach into the heavens of his own accord, to unite to solve the world’s problems on the basis of human ingenuity, and his untiring efforts to make a name for himself, only to meet frustration and confusion. Even the former Secretary General of the United Nations, which perhaps epitomizes man’s modern efforts and designs, stated in his 1984 report that the organization’s “majestic vision” had been clouded, that it had been impossible “to take any peacekeeping action at all” in some situations, and he admitted that many people are concluding that something is “wrong with the United Nations and with the concept of internationalism.”

The divine decision to “confuse the language” (v. 7) which on the surface appears somewhat innocuous has had profound and far-reaching consequences. Language is sometimes defined as “a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates.” English-speaking peoples have decided that “mist” means something akin to “fog, vapor, etc.,” but Germans have determined that “mist” means “dung or manure.” It is not necessary to point out the possibilities for confusion! Neither is it hard to see why there is so much estrangement and tension in our world when we remember that many people know only one language, have little knowledge of other cultures, and are therefore ill-equipped to “cooperate” with other peoples.

The Future of the Nations

Jesus predicted that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:7) echoing the thoughts of the psalmist who asked, “Why do the nations rage?” (Ps. 2:1). But the events of Pentecost project a reversal of the disintegration of national relations through Christ, reminding us that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all nations (see Matt. 24:14) and that eventually representatives of every nation will gather around the throne of heaven (see Rev. 5:9). Men’s efforts at united nations may be more like untied nations. But eventually the Father will keep His promise and give the Son “the nations for [His] inheritance” (Ps. 2:8).

We need to pray for our nation that a revival would take place, we need to pray for our leaders that they would honor God, and we need to realize that reformation has to happen first and to then apply it to ourselves.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for David who is spiteful

For Dub that is unrepentant,

For Allison that has to make a godly decision

For wayne b and his life choices

And for Paul C that has stepped out of accountability and being deceitful

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: