Term 1 – Week 4
Big Idea – Humans say ‘No’ to God the loving King and try to make themselves great instead of Him. This is also called SIN.
This unit of work is an overview of the Old Testament from creation in Genesis 1 up to God’s promise to King David in 2 Samuel 7. The theme for the unit is: God always keeps His Promises.
They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar. 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; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ Genesis 11:3-4
Following the flood, the world has fresh new start, and humanity can have another go at following the Lord’s commands. Noah’s family have the responsibility to fulfil the first commands of God to Adam and Eve repeated in 9:1-2 – God commands them to be fruitful, to fill the earth and to subdue the living animals and 10:32 leaves us hopeful – the nations are spreading out over the earth. They are following God’s commands and they also have one common language. But it doesn’t last long. Soon enough, the people spreading east hatch a plan to find fame and glory. The people decide to build a tower – one that ‘reaches to the heavens.’ The snake in the garden said to Eve that they would ‘be like God’ should they eat the forbidden fruit. These people want to build a tower to reach to the heavens. They want to be like God.
- The people want to make themselves great (vv.1-4).
They want to be seen, noticed and glorified. They want to be worshiped and adored for their great tower. In building this tower they are seeking to receive the glory that is due to God. There’s nothing inherently wrong about big buildings. In some places that’s the only way of getting enough space! The error is in the motivation – to make themselves great. This digs right to the heart of our problem with sin. We’ve learnt plenty about sin so far, but this is a simple reminder of what sin is. We want to shove God off and be in charge. We all want to be great in our own ways. We don’t want God to be great.
- God comes down to see (vv.5-7)
It is intentionally ironic here that the author describes God twice as needing to ‘come down’ to see this tower. I thought this was a great tower that the people are building? To the Lord their efforts are feeble and futile, like an ant shaking his fist. While God is spirit and is able to see the tower, he uses this language to show us how small and feeble this rebellion is. This is a great lesson to humble us – however grand or big our efforts might seem; they are tiny compared to God! He is the one who deserves the glory not our weak efforts at greatness! Remembering that God is the one who deserves the glory will prevent us from seeking to get it ourselves.
- God scatters them (vv.8-9)
The Lord confuses their language and they are scattered over all the earth. The tragedy of human sin is that when we spoke the same language we united in rebellion against God. Our different languages were given to divide and confuse. Humans are still scattered today – while we can overcome language barriers more easily these days, these original language barriers have led to distinct cultural and geographical differences between humans. The earth is by no means a united place for humans.
As we consider human sin and the scattering they experienced at Babel, we must cast our minds to Jesus whp came to fix the problem of sin and unite people to him. Revelation 7:9 says: “after this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” How is the curse of Babel reversed? In the saving work of Jesus, people from all languages are united in praising God in heaven. The people will come together again, this time not to make their own name great but to praise the greatness of the name of Jesus.
The children will understand that all people are sinners just like the people in Genesis and therefore all people deserve punishment for their sin – but promised to never again to send a world-wide flood.
The children will know that God promised to keep Noah and his family safe inside the ark.
The children will give thanks to God that he has not abandoned his promises to fix the problem of sin.
Hello Song (Emu music)
Very, Very, Very Big God (EMU Music – Very, Very, Very Big God)
God said to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation. And I will bless you.Genesis 12:1-2, 3b
I will make your name great. You will be a blessing to others.
All nations on earth will be blessed because of you.”
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