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The Tower of Babel

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“The Tower of Babel”

Series: A Journey through the Old Testament [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

May 23, 2021

Introductory Comments:

The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, with a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft, just over half a mile). [show picture on screen] For reference, the Empire State Building is 443.2 m (1,454 feet) tall, including its antenna. There’s something impressive about a tall building. It represents power, success, and achievement. It means that something is going right for those who built it and in the land where it resides. 

We are continuing our series called “A Journey Through the Old Testament.” Thus far, we’ve learned about Creation, the Fall, and the Flood. 

Well, in today’s story we’re going to see what became of the people who went out on the earth after the flood. We’re going to learn about the Tower of Babel. 

Don’t forget Noah and his family we’re cooped up in the ark for quite some time (I said last week that they were in there 40 days and 40 nights. Of course, it was longer than that as it rained 40 days and 40 nights, but they were in there for as much as a year, so they really must have been ready to come out). 

There is a key verse for us to see before we get into today’s story. I alerted our Wednesday night crowd to this, and now I’m drawing the attention of all of us to this verse. After Noah and his family came out of the ark, this is what God said. Look at Genesis 9:7, “But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.” [on screen]

Let’s pray together before we go any further and ask God to speak to us. 


As we’ve been doing the last several weeks, we’re going to look at some major elements, some major truths, and then see how the Gospel speaks through this story. 

So, first, let’s look at the . . . 

I. Major elements[on screen]

First, Noah’s descendants began to spread out (Genesis 10:32). [on screen]

Remember, God’s command in 9:7 was for them to be fruitful and multiply, and to spread out over the earth. Well, let’s see what Noah’s family did. Look at verse 32, of chapter 10. (read passage in paper Bible). So, Noah and his family, and their descendants, were obedient. They spread out on the earth. 

However, some had come back together to make one unified and powerful people (Genesis 11:1-4). [on screen]

Look at verses 1-4 of chapter 11. (read passage in paper Bible).

The people had settled near Shinar and rather than spread out like God said, they wanted to stay together and build power for themselves, demonstrated in building this tower that reached to the heavens, or far into the sky. 

Notice their motivation in doing this. In verse 4 it says, “Let’s make a name for ourselves.”

Notice, also, what their concern was if they didn’t build this tower. Again, in verse 4, “ . . . otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.”

The result that they were concerned would come about, is the very thing that God commanded them to do: spread out on the earth. 

Finally, the Lord stepped in to scatter the people again (Genesis 11:5-9). [on screen]

Let’s look at verses 5-9. (read passage in paper Bible).

Since the people were not obeying God, God decided to step in and help them obey. 

I believe that this was a sign of God’s grace. Remember, not that long before this, things had gotten so evil on the earth that God destroyed the entire earth because of the great sin of the world. Well, now God is trying to get everyone back on track and they’ve started to disobey again. So, God steps in before things get too bad. 

By the way, when it says in verse 6, “ . . . then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them,” I believe that it is implied that they will think nothing that they plan to do will be impossible for them. In other words, they will become less and less dependent upon God in their own eyes. I don’t think that these people would literally come to the point where nothing was impossible for them, like they were the Avengers or something.

So, God confused their language and that helped them scatter again like God commanded them to do in the first place. 

So, the name of the place is called Babylon or Babel (in Hebrew) because that word sounds like the word for “confused.” [on screen]

Ok, now let’s talk about the major truths from this passage:

II. Major truths[on screen]

First, self-sufficiency is not what humanity needs. [on screen]

What we really need is God, not ourselves. God satisfies all of our needs. 

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” [on screen]

Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” [on screen]

We don’t need more from this world, or more from ourselves, we need more of God! He will supply all our needs and He will sustain us. 

Humanity will sometimes think that we can become more advanced, more educated, and more cultured to the point that we can handle things on our own. As smart as we think we are, we’re not smart enough to realize that all we have to do is look around to realize that we don’t have everything under control. 

Remember, this verse, which we reference all the time. Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” [on screen]

Self-sufficiency is not what humanity needs. 

Second, no purpose of God’s can be thwarted. [on screen]

God’s plan for humanity is that they would spread out on the earth and be fruitful and multiply. 

No matter what humanity had in mind, God would see His plans come to pass. 

Job learned this of God after 41 chapters of him learning about God. In Job 42:2, Job says, “I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted.” [on screen] By the way, to thwart something means to oppose it or prevent it from happening. No plan of God’s can be opposed or prevented from happening. 

Listen, church, God’s plan will succeed. God has a plan for you, for your family, for this church, for this city, and for this world; and that plan will succeed. You’re going to want to join God and His plans; things will go much better for you. 

Finally, God has a global plan. [on screen]

Remember, God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” God wanted His people to occupy the whole earth. All the peoples of the earth descended from Adam, and then Noah. Additionally, all the peoples of the earth belong to God. 

God loves the variety of His created people. At this time, on the earth, God doesn’t want us all huddled up with one language, one ethnicity, one culture, in one location.  

More than that, God has a plan to see people from all over the earth come to Him in worship. 

Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” [on screen]

Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” [on screen]

Revelation 7:9-10 says, “9 After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” [on screen]

Listen, church: our God is a global God and He has a global plan. That plan is not only for the physical flourishing of people all over the world, but also for the spiritual rescue of people from all over the world. 

Finally, let us see how . . .

III. The Gospelspeaks[on screen]

First, we need God. [on screen]

We need God more than anything! We need God more than we need technological advancement. We need God more than we need financial prosperity. We need God more than we need love and harmony. We need God more than we need world peace. We need God more than we need a cure to the coronavirus pandemic. We need God more than we need acceptance and belonging. We need God more than we need an answer to racial tensions. We need God more than we need a cure for the drug crises. We need God more than we need a fix to mental health issues. We need God more than anything!

The story of the tower of Babel reminds us of one of the core truths of the Bible, all that we really need is found in God and we can only get to God through the work of Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Second, there is unity, glory, and power found in Jesus. [on screen]

Here’s the irony: all that the people at the Tower of Babel were trying to find was actually found in a greater way in God. 

Now, we, and all the rest of humanity, have access to all the incalculable riches of God through the work of Jesus.

Do you want to have real unity? Find it in Jesus

Do you want to have real glory? Find it in Jesus.

Do you want to have real power? Find it in Jesus. 

Do you want to have real blessing, real peace, real rest, real prosperity, real healing, real love, real forgiveness, real wisdom, find it in Jesus!

You can’t beat the real thing! Come to Jesus and experience life in a whole new way!

Concluding Thoughts:

We need God, folks, as Jesus Himself said, it’s only through Him that we can experience God. 

Let the story of the Tower of Babel remind you of this truth as summarized in our bottom line:

Bottom Line: Apart from Jesus, humanity will never reachgreatheights. [on screen]


I’m not saying we’ll never do anything impressive. After all, we now have the iPhone, electric F150s, robot vacuum cleaners, robot surgeons, drones that can deliver packages, great advancements in medicine, doctor visits over a smart phone camera, and so much more. 

Listen, church: ten years from now that stuff won’t be impressive anymore to us, and it’s never impressive to God. God has within Himself true greatness and we have access to that through the work of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

We will only reach greatness through Jesus. 

Challenge yourself this week to live out this passage in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Consider how great you can be withoutChrist. [on screen]

What could you do by your own power? Perhaps you could start up the next major tech company. Perhaps you could help build a successful church. Perhaps you could raise a nice family. Perhaps you could retire and spend the rest of your days in peace and prosperity, all by your own work. 

Well, maybe not totally on your own because every breath that you breathe is a gift of God, but let’s say God gave you a little help with the bare minimums, consider how great you can be without the work of Jesus in your life. 

2. Consider how great you can be inChrist. [on screen]

How great could you be with Christ? If all that the Bible says regarding what Jesus can do in and through you is true, how great can you be in Christ?

Take some time this week and consider if there was no limit to what Jesus could do in your life how great you could be in Christ. 


Here’s the question for you to consider: do you want to be as great as you can be by your own power, or do you want to be as great as you can be in Christ? That’s a question for each of us to answer this week. 

Here’s a secret: there is no limit to how great you can be in Christ. So, choose wisely. 

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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