The God of Life Operates on Grace, Not “Karma”

After Jacob swindled his careless brother out of his birthright, deceiving others and being deceived began to mark some of the biggest points in Jacob’s life.  By the time he crossed paths with Esau again, Jacob was quite afraid of what bitterness could have done to his scorned brother.  The last Jacob knew, Esau was out for Jacob’s blood, and that still put the fear in Jacob a couple of decades later.

Even though their father technically blessed Jacob (through trickery), making him the brother that would rule over the others, Jacob scampered around like a coward, hiding family members, sending peace offerings, and fretting up a storm.  During this final day or so before the reunion between these brothers who had been at war with one another since the womb, Jacob wrestled with God.  Jacob, as determined as ever, wouldn’t let go until he received a blessing–this time, a blessing that was truly his own. At this point, God inflicted him with a hip injury and proclaimed that Jacob had prevailed.  That’s not how we usually see a wrestling match end, with the one who is limping proclaimed the winner.  In this case, God actually gave Jacob a limp to show his weakness, and in that weakness God declared Jacob victorious.  Humility is indeed the remedy for the proud heart.

When Esau and Jacob finally reunited, Esau shocked his brother by greeting him with a strong embrace and a kiss.  Of course, they did argue, but this time it was over accepting gifts instead of placing blame.  These brothers didn’t have a history of goodness with one another.  They didn’t have a happy reunion due them, and they didn’t evolve into peaceful men.  These men were given grace by God Himself–not to defeat, but to forgive one another.

“And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him.  So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all.  He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

‘But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.  And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’  Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.'”  – Genesis 33:1-5

The God of Life is Not Deceived By Man

Esau was foolish in his shortsightedness for following his momentary desire and trading a life-long position and privilege for it.

Jacob was foolish for listening to the wicked schemes of his mother and lying to his blind father.

Esau was foolish to blame anyone but himself.

Jacob was foolish to think he’d pull it off without a hitch.

They were both foolish to their status was their deepest need.

God foretold it all.  He was neither surprised nor deceived by any of them.  God isn’t fooled by any party lines or causes-of-the-moment either.  He sees straight through the words, the actions, the disguises and looks at our hearts–our deepest desires.  You can’t hide it, and you can’t spin it.  He knows the truth.  Will you stop striving to win the battle against your brother and instead will you love your Father, the God of Life?

“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted.  And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!’  (Therefore his name was called Edom.)  Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright now.’  Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’  Jacob said, ‘Swear to me know.’  So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob.  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way.  Thus Esau despised his birthright.”  – Genesis 25:29-34

“When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, ‘My son’; and he answered, ‘Here I am.’  He said, ‘Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.’

“Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau.  So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘U heard your father speak to your brother Esau, ;Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’  Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you.  Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves.  And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.’  But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.  Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.’  His mother said to him, ‘Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.’

“So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved.  Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son.  And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck  And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

“So he went in to his father and said ‘My father.’  And he said, ‘Here I am.  Who are you, my son?’  Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn.  I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your should may bless me.’  But Isaac said to his son, ‘How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?’  He answered, ‘Because the Lord your God granted me success.’  Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.’  So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.’  And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy lie his brother Esau’s hands.  So he blessed him.  He said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’  He answered, ‘I am.’  Then he said, ‘Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.’  So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.

“Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come near and kiss me, my son.’  So he came near and kissed him.  and Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said,

‘See, the smell of the son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed!  May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.  Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you.  Be lord over your brothers, and my your mother’s sons bow down to you.  Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!’

“As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.  He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father.  And he said to his father, ‘Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.’  His father Isaac said to him, ‘Who are you?’  He answered, ‘I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.’  Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, ‘Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him?’  Yes, and he shall be blessed.’  As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me, even me also, O my father!’  But he said, ‘Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.  Esau said, ‘Is he not rightly named Jacob?  For he has cheated me these two times.  He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.’  Then he said, ‘Have you not reserved a blessing for me?’  Isaac answered and said to Esau, ‘Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine, I have sustained him.  What then can I do for you, my son?’  Esau said to his father, ‘Have you but one blessing, my father?  Bless me, even me also, O my father.’  And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

“Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:

‘Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high.  By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.’

“Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.'”  – Genesis 27:1-41


The God of Life Doesn’t Make Mistakes

After the Lord called out to Abraham and prevented him from killing his son, Isaac, the boy grew into a man, worked the land, and took a wife, Rebekah.  For the people of God, having children isn’t something you might be interested in.  It is something that is a blessing from God Himself, which comes with a whole lot of work and a life-long reward.  We see multiple examples in the Bible where women who were unable to have children are heart-broken.  This might have been the case for Rebekah.

The first and only thing we know about their private life is that “Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren” (25:21a).  This man must have loved his wife very much.  I imagine she was in such a state that it called her husband’s attention away from his daily work and to his knees in prayer.

How did God respond?  God granted Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah conceived.  Happy ending, right?  Well, yes and no.  Rebekah was no doubt elated at first, but she might have wondered how the pregnancy could be a blessing when she had some pretty strong-and perhaps even painful-symptoms or sensations as life grew within her.  In fact, she went to the Lord to ask why this was happening to her.  His response was that the children (Surprise, Rebekah!  You’re having twins) were fighting in the womb, and they would come out and fight for the rest of their lives on the outside, too.

Anytime the good news of a new baby is received, God’s people recognize that person as the gift from God’s hand that he or she is.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  Whatever the fears of the mother (like Rebekah seemed to fear what was going wrong inside her womb), or whatever prognosis is revealed (like the prophecy given about children that would cause great conflict), God alone opened that womb, gave the gift of those children, and would cause ultimate blessing to come about (for the whole world, don’t forget) through the growth of Abraham’s family.  Every child is a gift to be received with joy.  To resent or reject such a precious gift is to despise God and rob the world of unknown blessing.

“These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife.  And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren, and the Lord granted his prayer and Rebekah his wife conceived.  The children struggled together within her, and she said, ‘If it is thus, why is this happening to me?’  So she went to inquire of the Lord.  And the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.’

“When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb.  The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau.  Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob.  Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.”  – Genesis 25:19-26

The God of Life is Not Safe, But He Is Good

Have you ever been so amazed by a gift that you forgot all about the giver of that gift?  You might have carefully decided on, saved to purchase, and intricately wrapped this perfect gift, but if it becomes simply a thing that you own instead of something that was entrusted to you, you will use it selfishly, and the love with which it was given will have been lost.  Unfortunately, humans often do this with God.  God gives them skills, opportunities, loved ones, etc., and if those gifts are seen as personal property, the Creator and Giver of those gifts is rejected, and worship is misplaced (either onto the item for being perfect, or onto one’s self for having possession of such perfection).

In this text, God tests Abraham, who has been given the “perfect gift” of a long-awaited child.  God does not mince words.  He tells Abraham to prepare to offer his precious son back to God as a sacrifice of worship to God, the Giver of that child.  I wonder if Abraham thought, No, Lord, you can’t be serious.  Why?  I suppose that is what I would ask.  We don’t have record of what Abraham thought in that moment, or in the three days it took for them to get to the appointed site of the  sacrifice, but I imagine he was praying every step of the way.

Abraham obeys God in each detail, and he leads others (his son, his servants) to do likewise, assuring them God is at work, even though they don’t see how.  I think C.S. Lewis’s words about the Lion Aslan being “not safe, but (he’s) good” apply to the God of Life.  It was not foolishness but faith.  God gave His word.  God kept His word.  God gave Isaac to Abraham.  God’s good gift, apart from God Himself, held no blessing.  Abraham received the gift of his son on the Giver’s terms, loving them both, but worshiping only God.  Abraham’s faithfulness was met with relief as God provided a ram to be ultimately sacrificed.

Do you know this was not the only unbelievable three-day-long nightmare in the Bible?  The disciples of Jesus suffered great heartache, confusion, and doubt after the crucifixion was finished and before the resurrection took place.  Does God throw His people some curve balls that seem downright wrong?  Maybe.  But He is never in the wrong.  We just haven’t heard the end of the story yet.

“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’  And he said, ‘Here I am.’  He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’  So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac.  And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.  On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.  Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.’  And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son.  And he took in his hand the fire and the knife.  So they went both of them together;  And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’  And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’  He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’  Abraham said, God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’  So they went both of them together.

“When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and lad him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.  But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’  And he said, ‘Here I am ab.’  He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’  And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns.  And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” -Genesis 22:1-14

The God of Life Is Just

Right after the final installation of the “Abraham and Sarah are going to finally have the promised child” saga, the text reveals just how harrowing the journey to Abraham’s blessing will be.

Because of the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, God has determined to go and judge rightly if the situation is as has been told.  God hears both sides of every story–even in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham, seemingly compassionate on the people of those cities, asks God if He would really destroy all of the God-fearing people along with those who outright rebel against God.  It all started as a fairly confident plea blended with borderline accusation.  Abraham’s first estimation was 50 righteous people,  and God unreservedly agreed to spare the whole population if just 50 God-fearing people could be found.  As Abraham observed the mercy of God in those moments, his assumptions of the presence of righteousness in the city waivers.  He moves quickly from, What if there are 45? What about 40? 30?  20?  Then, finally, what if only 10 righteous people can be found?  And God said yes.  He was so intent on showing Abraham the dept of his mercy (as if Abraham hadn’t been seeing it in his very own life for decades already), that He “bargains” all the way down to sparing all of the judgment due Sodom and Gomorrah for 10 God-fearing people.

I wonder what Abraham thought and felt when he realized that God’s generous mercy was like a precious treasure despised.  Not even 10 righteous people had been found among the masses, and the judgment was delivered.  Even in the last evening before the destruction, the people of that city were urged not to embrace wickedness, but they refused to repent.  God’s persistent mercy is powerful because He is prepared to judge in Holiness – not it fury.

“Then the men set out from there, and they looked down on Sodom.  And Abraham went with them to set them on their way.  The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.’  Then the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me.  And if not, I will know.’

So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.  Then Abraham drew near and said, ‘Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city.  Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?  Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked!  Far be that from you!  Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’  And the Lord said, ‘If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.'”  – Genesis 18:16-26

The God of Life Has Perfect Timing

Do you know how old Abram was when he was first called by God and told that he and his family would be made by God into a great nation?  He was seventy-five.  Do you know how old Abram is in this passage when God tells him the show is about to get started? He is 100 years old. Abram has been waiting for 25 years to see this great promise realized.  Why did God wait so long?  Didn’t he know Abram and Sarai would be weak, that they would doubt God, and that they would get tired of waiting and try to take a blessing by force?  Yes, God knew.  Is that part of why He waited so long?  I think it’s quite possible.

Regardless of God’s reasoning for this quarter of a century gap between promise made and promise delivered, the big announcement has been made–a son will be born to 90-year-old Sarah!  Perhaps because he has allowed himself to become cynical, the first thing he does is laugh at God’s proclamation.  Then, Abraham asks God to give this great honor to his son, Ishmael–the son he sees with his own eyes, the son he doesn’t need to trust in God to deliver.  I confess that I have tried to bargain with God like this.  However, I want you to know that is always a bad idea because countering the Giver of all Good Gifts is like stealing from your own piggy bank.  He wants to give you everything in due time, and you will strongly desire to grasp for any old fistful right now.

It was merciful for God to give Ishmael a blessing, but the ultimate honor of the covenant son was reserved for the child that came through faith in the promise–and in God’s perfect timing.

“And God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.  I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’  Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?  Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’  And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before you!’  God said, ‘No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.  As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly.  He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.  But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.'” – Genesis 17:15-21

The God of Life Loves Unlovable People

Sarai was a fearful, selfish manipulator.  Abram repeated Adam’s folly. Even though he heard the promise from God Himself, in unbelief he bowed to his wife’s fear.  Hagar was the victim of their folly.  Yet, what do they all have in common?  They were (either justly or unjustly) unlovable.  BUT GOD loved them.

Sarai is grasping at straws, and in her self-centeredness she blatantly sins against God and Hagar. Though alone and hurt, Hagar is sought out by the angel of the Lord who cares for and counsels her in her despair.  She, in turn, is promised the blessing of an abundant family.  We will also go on to see later how God neither cancels the covenant with Abram (to make him head of a great nation) nor removes Sarai from her place as wife and mother of this special family of blessing.

Are they finally done being fools,  you may ask?  Will they sit tight and let God fulfill His promise without trying to mess it up again?  No, I’m afraid not.  I am ashamed to say that just hours after I wrote the first draft of this somewhat scathing reflection on Sarai, I, myself, was guilty of trying to force God to surrender His blessing to me–in my timing.  While there is much failure yet to come, it is God’s love for fools like Abram, Sarai, and me that is most noteworthy.  And that same love is what the God of Life offers to you in whatever broken and/or foolish state you may find yourself today.

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.  She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.  And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.  Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’  And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.  So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.  And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.  And Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done to me be on you!  I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt.  May the Lord judge between you and me!’  But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.’  Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.’

“The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.  And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?’  She said, ‘I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.’  The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress and submit to her.’  The angel of the Lord also said to her, ‘I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.'”  – Genesis 16:1-10

The God of Life is Trustworthy

How do you know when you can trust someone?  Is it when they deliver on their promise?  Well, that’s not really trust, is it?  That would be a transaction.  Trust is knowing that the one who is promising something has the desire and the power to complete the promised action.  Of course, having seen the person fulfill other promises in the past certainly doesn’t hurt either.

What trust does not mean is that we will get some sort of plan of action report so we can understand how the promise will be fulfilled.  That’s the hardest part when I have to trust.  For some reason, I, like Abram, forget all too often how much God has done without my help.  I feel like I constantly need to be sent out to count the stars that God made and put in their places so I remember that His promises in my non-cosmically-foundational life will be fulfilled.  He has done so much to keep me alive and to bless me beyond anything I could ever deserve, that I can trust, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that whatever fear of lacking or loss that Satan wants me to agonize over, God can and will either spare me from it or carry me through it.

“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’  But Abram said, ‘O, Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’  And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.’  And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’  And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’  Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’  And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”  – Genesis 15:1-6

The God of Life is Intent On Blessing

Something that I love about God is that He will often do something for me that He had kept me from doing before.  For example, maybe you really want a certain job.  You do everything in your power to get that job, but they hire someone else.  Then one day – maybe weeks later, maybe years later – you get a call, and it’s about the job.  They want you, no competition necessary.  Why would God keep you from the job at first, just to give it to you later?  Maybe it was the timing, or maybe it was your intent that didn’t line up with His design.  That second possibility is what we will look at in the text today.

Just a chapter before Abram comes into the picture, we have the history of Babel (see my previous post entitled The God of Life is Patient).  God halted the plans of the masterminds behind the tower to heaven for a couple of reasons, one of which was their desire to make a name for themselves.  Specifically, they wanted to defy God’s command to spread out and fill the earth.  And now, with Abram?  Check out the text below.  God tells Abram in no uncertain terms that He (God) wants to make Abram’s name great.  Don’t miss why God wants to do this.  This isn’t a trick.  God wants to use the greatness of Abram’s name – the nation that his family will be made into by God’s power – in order that it will be a blessing to all of the families on earth.  That includes you, me, your best friend, and your worst enemy.  God’s purpose in setting Abram apart is not elitism or favoritism; it is a matter of blessing for everyone on Earth.

“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” – Genesis 12:1-3

The God of Life is Patient

At first glance, this story looks like a nod to collaborative and innovative genius among a group of builders.  Take note that God Himself comes down to check out this tower!  Then God responds in a way that might seem in awe, even threatened.  He says nothing will be impossible for them.  But instead of stepping back and seeing what they might come up with next, God sets out to confuse their language so they will no longer be able to tackle the impossible.  Why would God do such a thing?  Well, it wasn’t because God can’t stand when people accomplish things.

Don’t forget that Noah and his descendants were given the mission to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  This required them to spread out and cover the Creator’s planet with testimony of His goodness to each of them.  In verse four, however, we see that a conspiracy had formed.  New vision was cast – vision that challenged God’s calling upon them.  They wanted to stick together and make their names great instead of God’s.  In light of this, stand in awe with me at God’s response to this pathetic, yet brazen attempt at overthrowing the God of Heaven.

So, let’s get back to the why.  God was not threatened by the tower of mud, nor by the limitlessness of the capabilities of these conspirators.  God is Creator and Father.  When He saw His people defying His commands once again, He did not lash out in rage.  He patiently corrected their course.  His people were given a new opportunity to follow Him, the God of Life, to a lifetime of amazing accomplishments, rescuing them, once again from the lies of Satan that would tempt them with greatness and reward them with slavery.

“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.  And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’  And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.  Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’  And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.  And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do.  And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’  So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth.  And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.” – Genesis 11:1-9