A few months ago, Facebook tried out a program that would label news that originated from outside of their ‘trusted network’ as unverified or something to that effect. The result was exactly the opposite of what was intended- they managed to dramatically increase the number of clicks those sites got. Whereas before, users generally scanned over these links, now with the warning attached, people just had to look.
Facebook learned a lesson about human nature that will always bedevil attempts at controlling narratives- when someone in authority says ‘stop’, something intuitively compels us to ‘go’. Put a sign on something that says “Do no touch” and see what happens. (This is why I think Artificial Intelligence will always be very limited in predicting human behavior.)
It is called rebellion, and people are experts at it. Always have been. In Genesis 8:21 God observes that “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth;…” As the populace grew and settled into their new lives, we see that for their own good, people still have the need for the Lord to occasionally shake it up.
The period of time from Noah to Abraham, can be characterized as a time of replenishment, renewal, and re-establishment- of both good and bad.
In a prophetic, symbolic incident- one day Noah got drunk and passed out naked in his tent. Ham looked in and rather than look away, he stared in and then ridiculed his father to his brothers. Shem and Japheth took a blanket and walked in backwards and covered him up without looking at his nakedness. They respected their father. Ham dishonored him.
Noah pronounced a curse on Canaan- the line of Ham, the heathen and ungodly- declaring his descendants would be servants to his brothers descendants. As servants, they will be exposed to the covenant, but will reject it continually, out of jealousy, pride, and hatred. Noah reveals the line of Shem will be the patriarchal, covenant line (eventually, the house of Israel) and the line of Japheth (the Gentiles) will be adopted into this covenant. (Genesis 9: 21-27). But above all else, the overriding and unmistakable intention of God for these three is: And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. (9:7)
Ham begat Cush who begat Nimrod. Nimrod, “a mighty hunter before the Lord,” settled in the area that later became Babylon. It was here that the next great rebellion took place.
Genesis 11:1,4- And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 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.
There are different theories on just what the world was up to with this tower to heaven, but you can deduct from the narrative, the motivations were all wrong. Instead of multiplying and bringing forth the abundance of the earth, they are all congregating in one area, building a tower to heaven. Rather than calling upon the name of the Lord, they have determined to trust in themselves, ‘make us a name.’ They feared being ‘scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’, when that is precisely what the Lord wanted them to do. Everything about this tower is the opposite of what God wants.
I don’t know if these people really thought they could build a tower to heaven. Genesis 9:11- And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. You can be sure, that in the same hour that God promised to never again destroy the earth with a flood, Satan started whispering “the Next Great Flood is coming.” That is what he does.
The Flood was still a recent event. Nimrod’s grandfather Ham was a flood survivor. There were probably still numerous ruins and relics. It is possible they reasoned a tower up to the heavens would stay above the next Flood. Regardless of the theory, the project was a colossal waste of time, resources, and exhibited a complete disregard for God, disbelief and distrust in the words of the Lord. It was vanity.
It was time to shake it up.
Genesis 11: 4-9 4 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. 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
The Lord saw that this unified, goal-oriented society would achieve great things together with the combined intellect and talents men have been blessed with. They would forget about God, having ‘made a name for themselves’. They are already using their technology to pursue madness. We’ve seen this before. Sadly, it is what men do.
The Lord’s solution has prevented a One World order to this day.
Can you imagine? Picture yourself there. You are on the 2nd shift on the tower, today you are on the hoist crew, operating the pulleys pulling up bricks from the ground. Suddenly the man next to you says “Ze zing bah doo, tigzy slew krest. Oncha!” He hears the same thing from you. Can you imagine the confusion, anger, chaos, and outright panic that ensues? Hauling bricks would be the last priority all of a sudden. And the people that built the tower lest they be scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, were thus scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth. Shake it up.
All of the rest of the Genesis narrative (ch 9-11) until the story of Abram begins, involves a recitation and establishing of the three families spreading abroad, and the genealogies of each. Except for:
Having scattered people abroad, the Lord put some separation between land masses, to further regionalize problems. I think rather than some massive continental realignment- (which certainly cannot be excluded in God’s world- Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.)- it was probably a collapse of land bridges (think Atlantis) and sea level changes. For an example (though admittedly less dramatic) of rapid earth changes, consider a couple of recent events: Paricutin volcano In just a few short years, a hole in a Mexican cornfield grew into a 1400 foot stratocone that not only swallowed the cornfield, but the neighboring village.
Genesis 10:25- And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
2004 Indian ocean earthquake and tsunami A 750- mile section of the earth moved 40 feet instantaneously. Boulders weighing thousands of tons were pushed and rolled for miles along the sea floor.
A rapid earth change would also explain the unique ecosystem of Australia. And the habitat of penguins. Penguins not only live in Antarctica, but the south shores of Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand: Livescience penguin facts
As this chapter closes, we see the Lord shaking it up again. The future ‘father of many nations’ is being called out of the land of the Chaldees, to the land of his inheritance. (Genesis 11:31-32).
About the same time that Abram begins his sojourn home, in another part of the world, another righteous man is about to find that if the Lord loves you- he is going to shake it up.
next Sunday- a steady Job