THE TOWER OF BABEL

(SERMON #60 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, November 28, 2010

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).


After the Great Flood God told the descendants of Noah’s sons to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1). God told them to fill the earth, to populate it. As Dr. McGee put it,

God had said to man that he should scatter over the earth and replenish the earth. But man in essence answered, “Nothing doing. We’re not going to scatter; we are going to get together. We are through with you.” The Tower of Babel was against God…this tower revealed the arrogant, defiant rebellious attitude of man against God (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981, volume I, p. 53; note on Genesis 11:4).

Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10) led the people to build a tower as high as they could there in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. There are ancient ruins of such buildings all through that area. They all had runways leading to the top. When they reached the top they worshipped the sun, the moon and the stars. It seems to have looked like the towers built later by the Babylonians as places to worship their god Marduk. These “towers” also looked very much like the ancient Mayan temples of Central America, tall buildings with a runway going up the front, where the Mayans offered human sacrifices to their gods. The Apostle Paul refers to the idolatry of these ancient people in the first chapter of Romans,

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:21-25).

The Tower of Babel did not fulfill their purpose. They wanted it to “reach unto heaven.” But it did not. They wanted it to be the center of their culture, and keep them from being “scattered” as God had commanded. But, instead of fulfilling their dreams, the whole project ended in confusion. “Therefore is the name of it called Babel” (Genesis 11:9). The word “Babel” means “confusion.” It was really the “Tower of Confusion,” because it was there that God judged them by confusing their language into many tongues. That’s where all the languages of the world came from, when God confused their tongues and scattered them.

God has sent confusion as a judgment on us today. Look at our universities, with their proud and confused professors shaking their fists in the face of God. Look at our politicians, blaming each other, attacking each other, pointing fingers at each other – all of them incapable of solving our financial crises, all of them in a state of total confusion. Look at our young people, jobless, confused, without hope for the future,

“Having no hope, and without God in the world”
       (Ephesians 2:12).

Look at our homes, totally confused, and falling to pieces. Look at our nation, crumbling and disintegrating before our very eyes! Look at the world-wide confusion that you read about every day in the newspapers!

Mankind is in confusion today. The terrible confusion we see in the world cannot be explained by psychology, or sociology. The Bible alone gives the reason. The root of man’s confusion is pride and rebellion against God.

“Go to [come], let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”
       (Genesis 11:4).

What is this but pride and arrogance, and rebellion, against the God who made us? Nothing in man’s nature has changed. Man’s ultimate trouble is pride and rebellion against God. That was the cause of Satan’s fall from Heaven,

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High”
     (Isaiah 14:13-14).

Satan’s pride was the first sin in the universe. But God cast him out of Heaven into the atmosphere around the earth. Pride and rebellion brought him down.

And that was the sin of Adam as well,

“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…”
       (Romans 5:19).

All mankind became sinners when Adam disobeyed God in pride and rebellion. We all inherited Adam’s sin-nature when he fell in sin. Nothing has changed in man’s nature since the Fall. The pride and rebellion of the human race remains the same. Notice how they all joined in the chant at the Tower of Babel. I believe that Nimrod, the founder of Babel, led this chant,

“Go to [come], let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).

They chanted that over and over – thousands of them chanting it all at once. But take notice of this - no one stood against this rebellion. All of them joined the crowd and chanted,

“Go to [come], let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”
       (Genesis 11:4).

No one protested. All of them joined this chant, and this rebellion against God!

This shows us the unity of the human race in sin,

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God”
       (Romans 3:10-11).

In a sermon outline on the Tower of Babel, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

Man’s ultimate trouble is pride. This [was the] cause of his original Fall. [Man has been the] same ever since. Man in sin always believes he can be equal with God and replace God. [Man] also believes he can achieve safety, happiness and security by his own effort. This always leads to disaster and confusion. The tragic folly of this [lies in man] not realizing the greatness of God; not realizing [the] trouble about himself; not realizing that God [offers salvation through] Christ. The only way to heaven is Christ (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., quoted by Iain H. Murray in Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008, p. 89).

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the great Russian author, was correct when he said, “All framers of social systems from the remotest times up to the present year…have been dreamers, tellers of fairy tales, simpletons who contradict themselves and know nothing of…that strange animal called man” (from Dr. Lloyd-Jones, quoted by Iain H. Murray, ibid.). All framers of social systems, from Nimrod to Marx, to Lenin, to Mao Tse Tung to Barack Obama, have “been dreamers, telling us fairy tales, simpletons who contradict themselves and know nothing of…that strange animal called man” (Murray, ibid.). All “framers of social systems” have failed to understand that mankind as a whole is ruined by the Fall. Man cannot be saved by a “new” social system. Man can only be saved by Jesus Christ.

The only way to salvation is through Christ, the eternal Son of God because,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
       (I Timothy 1:15).

Some who have rejected the Scriptures will proudly and rebelliously say, “If God were ‘fair,’ He would save all men.” The concept of “fairness” is very modern. Instead of “fairness,” the Bible speaks of “justice.” Since all men are proud and rebellious against God, it would be just for God to condemn every human being who has ever lived to the eternal flames of Hell. That would be perfectly just. Though it may seem “unfair” to the blinded minds of modern liberals, dope smokers and libertarians, it is perfectly just for God to send every incorrigible sinner to the Lake of Fire. And the Bible teaches that all men, indeed, are incorrigible sinners.

That is why real conversion begins with a man acknowledging, in his heart, that he does not deserve mercy, by admitting in his heart that he deserves the fiery wrath of God. Only when a man is broken by God’s Spirit is he prepared for real conversion. Only when a man feels “my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3) does he become a candidate for real conversion in the sight of God. To paraphrase Dr. J. Gresham Machen, “The Gospel will only seem like an idle tale” until a man feels condemned by the guilt of his sin, both his inherited sin, and his actual sin. Only when a man’s spirit is crushed under the weight of his original and actual sin, only then, and not before, does he become pliable in the hands of God, who may then draw him to Jesus.

As long as you are satisfied with yourself the way you are, you will never be drawn by God’s Spirit to the Saviour, and you will never escape eternal punishment! Think often about your sin. Think often about Hell. This will prepare you for salvation in Christ Jesus. All other methods will ultimately fail. All attempts to reform yourself will fail. All your attempts to save yourself by learning and Bible study will fail. All efforts to “achieve safety, happiness and security by [your] own effort” will fail. “This always leads to disaster and confusion” (Lloyd-Jones, ibid.). As it was with those at the Tower of Babel, so it will be with you. Confusion! Confusion! A life of confusion and an eternity of confusion, fire and brimstone, awaits all who stand against God in pride and rebellion! Disaster and confusion will be with you always unless the Spirit of God brings you under conviction of your sin, and awakens you to feel your need for Jesus, the Son of God!

Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sin. He suffered in your place as your substitute. He rose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven to give you the new birth. His precious Blood can wash away your sin forever! But you will never feel your need for Jesus unless you are made to feel the weight of your sin, and become ashamed of your pride and rebellion against God. Then you may be led by God to say in your heart,

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my thoughts.
And know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts.
And see if there be Any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
   (“Search Me, O God,” from Psalm 139:23-24).

Stand and sing it. It is number 8 on your song sheet, “Search Me, O God” (from Psalm 139:23-24).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet at
www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here)
or you may write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 11:1-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Search Me, O God” (from Psalm 139:23-24).