Firstly what do we make of all the seemingly random jumble of names and events in Genesis?
Well, this section is all about human kingdoms. The lists of people’s names and the nations (Gen 10) are the author explaining the different people groups that were around at the time he was writing. It’s a bit like if we were to trace the Welsh back to the original Welshman.
The point of the story of the Tower of Babel and the mixing up of the languages isn’t that it’s God’s fault we all have to do GCSE French (although feel free to complain to him anyway). It’s that in Genesis people thought that if they were clever enough and strong enough they could break into heaven. In other words they could become gods.
What’s missing in the picture of Babel is anyone wanting to unite around building God’s kingdom.
When we meet Jesus there’s another kingdom he’s interested in: the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 5 he starts one of his most famous talks – known as the Sermon on the Mount. This is a kingdom that isn’t about ‘me and my strength’, but others and God.
Have you ever walked out from a dark room into bright sunlight? Or gone from under cover into sheets of pouring rain? That’s a little bit like what’s happening when we switch from our view of the world to the kingdom Jesus is describing… we’re suddenly blinded and soaked… This is something different, new, and exciting. It’s about love and kindness, peace and mercy, justice and righteousness.
Jesus presents us with an opportunity to live for something bigger than just us, our kingdom, our ‘tower’.
In entering God’s kingdom yes we receive blessings, but also He’s inviting us to be salt in a world that’s lost its flavour. Jesus’ teaching shows us that the real way to bring about heaven on earth isn’t by building a skyscraper; it’s by pointing people to the Father… “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven” (Mt 5:16)
So let’s ask ourselves today – what are we doing to point to the Father? How about mercy? Humility? Kindness? Justice? How are we being salt and light?
Make it real and practical – Let’s build something that matters.