Making Room For His Grace
Judgment is never God’s final word to the world. When God cuts sin back, it is always to make room for His saving grace. Adam and Eve are excluded from the garden, but there is the promise of a deliverer. Cain is sent out from his family, but then Seth is born. The flood destroys all life, but Noah and his family are saved. The nations are scattered at Babel, but then out of that comes… a man called Abraham.
The New Testament describes Abraham as a man who was looking for a city built by God (Hebrews 11:10). The thing that burned in his heart was to be part of a community where God is honored—the very opposite of Babel. In a world where every man is trying to make a name for himself, here is a man who wants to lift up the name of God. In a world where every man believes in himself, here is a man who believes in God.
God is not finished with man
“I will bless you… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2
This is a wonderful statement after the tower of Babel. God scattered the nations across the face of the earth. Here are these families, moving out into isolation and segregation, feeling threatened and alone, consumed with themselves, trying to find their own place and to build their own kingdom—far from the blessing of God.
God says, “I will not abandon the nations. I will bring blessing to all these nations that have risen up against me, and I will do it, Abraham, through you.” The rest of the Old Testament follows this line of Abraham. It is the same line that begins with Adam, then Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David. Then into that line, a baby is born. His name is Jesus, and He is the Savior of the world.
Jesus grows to manhood, and He teaches the words of God, He does the work of God and He claims to be the Son of God. He is crucified, dead and buried, but on the third day He rises from the dead and, after appearing to many over a period of forty days, He ascends into heaven. Then, on the day of Pentecost, God reverses Babel…
God reverses Babel
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Acts 2:5
Do you see the grace of God here? At Babel, man is lifted up and God confuses their language. The result is that they are divided and scattered. At Pentecost, Christ is lifted up, and God speaks in their language. The result is that they are united and gathered.
The book of Acts gives us an account of how the Gospel spread through the nations, how this blessing for all nations has come through the line of Abraham, and has been released to all through the coming of Jesus Christ.
The story runs right through the Bible until you get to the very last book of the Bible, and there you find a holy city, and at the center of the city, there is not a tower but a throne. Jesus Christ is on this throne, and around the throne there are people from every tribe and nation and language and culture. They are not making a name for themselves. They are worshipping the Lamb.
This week's Scripture: That is was it was called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:9
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This LifeKey is based on the message “Judgment,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered on January 23, 2000, from the series “Unlocking the Bible.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.