Sunday School Material 9-29-13: God Scatters the Nation

(Genesis 11:1-9; 9/29/13)

Introduction::A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God scatters the people because of their apparent sinful motives. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on having godly motives.

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Body:

Read Genesis 11:1-2

I. The Setting. The text shows that the people of the Earth had one language. They are said to move eastward. And they arrive at a plain in Shinar.

Applications -

- The ethnicity of those in the Bible. Notice that in vs. 2 that the people settled in a plain in Shinar. This area is thought to be around Babylon, where the people have always been people of color (i.e., at least a deep suntan).

It is inaccurate and harmful to think that the Bible characters were as pale as those we see in Europe. The harm comes when especially Blacks and Whites think of the Bible characters as being normally White and that Blacks are inferior after thoughts.

This creates low self esteem among Blacks and inflated esteem for Whites.  Let’s strive to appreciate the reality that the word and grace of God came to Europe, Africa, and America.

Without God, we would all be in trouble. With God, we are all filled with possibility. God is the determining factor, not our skin color; thus, there is no reason to avoid being accurate in our descriptions and discussions.

Read Genesis 11:3-4

II. The Scheme. In our Sunday School material the people said to themselves that they wanted to build a city and tower. They were to make bricks, instead of use stone.

They wanted their tower to reach the heavens. Their motive was to make a name for themselves and to avoid being scattered over the face of the Earth.

Applications -

- The tower. Notice in vss. 3-4 that the people had a mind to build a tower that reached the heavens. They were willing to work together to build an expression of being in communion with God.

The commentator does a nice job of explaining that the tower of our Sunday School material is more like a large and high platform used to approach one’s deity for sacrifices and prayers.

There is no obvious mention of paganism. The people probably did the best that they knew how to do to be in communion with God. Before we judge them too harshly think about church steeples and grand architecture and art work in our church buildings.

Let’s work together to build and do those things that help us be in communion with God.

- Godly motives. Notice in vs. 4 that the sin of our Sunday School material is the people’s motives. They wanted to make a city and tower for their own reputation and to avoid being “scattered” over the Earth.

This is as opposed to bringing glory to God and as opposed to filling the Earth, as God wanted them to do.  Let’s make sure that our motives are right. We can do right things for wrong reasons.

To be seen and praised are wrong reasons. To avoid doing what the Lord said do and do what seems right to us are wrong reasons.

Read Genesis 11:5-9

III. The Sovereign God. The Lord is pictured as the One who comes down and sees what the people are up to. God notes that if the people spoke one language and had begun such a project then nothing would be too hard for them.

The Lord and company confuses their language and scattered the people.

Applications -

- God came down. Notice in vss. 5-7 of our Sunday School material we see that the Lord comes down to deal with the people. First, God comes down to the people because the people’s tower was too low to come up to God.

In like manner, if God doesn’t come to us, we are unable to go to Him. We need His grace and mercy to reveal Himself to us. Without God’s revealing Himself to us (i.e., revelation), we would never be able to simply find, understand, and obey His will.

Second, the “us” in vs. 7 may be a reference to what conservative Christians call the trinity. The Pastor would caution us about putting too much weight on such an interpretation.

If it is not a reference to the trinity then we may have to simply ask the Lord about it when we get to Heaven.

The “us” in vs. 7 is far from the major emphasis of the text; thus, there is no need to force speculation on it. Let’s work on living in God’s will, instead of trying to fit God into our understanding.

- Walking together in Christian love. Notice in vs. 6 of the Sunday School material that all unity is not of God. In the Baptist Church Covenant, there is a phrase that says, “walk together in Christian love.” All walking together is not in Christian love.

Think about how there was unity at the cross of Christ that focused on killing Him. Think about how there was unity in America focused on the oppression of slaves and others.

Think about how there is unity in most of our churches focused on robbing God of His tithes and being consumers of what the church has to offer, instead of contributors to what the church offers.

Let’s strive to walk together in Christian love. Studying and obeying the Bible together are of foundational importance.

- God’s response to what is going on. Notice in vss. 8-9 of the Sunday School material that the Lord scattered the people and contributed to their confusion.

First, God is not a pacifist. That is, He doesn’t just sit back and hope that things get better. He acts, when He deems it to be appropriate.

Second, God can gather and scattered, as His means of dealing with a situation. Whichever method He chooses, it is good to know that it is working for the good of God’s people, in the long run.

Let’s work on trusting how God responds to what is going on. We should further work on living obedient lives, so we can experience God’s blessings, instead of His punishment.

Conclusion: Let’s work on having godly motives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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