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Genesis 11:4 - Homilies By J.f. Montgomery

God's city or man's city.

"And they said, Go to, lot 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." In the world after the Flood we trace the, outlines of the gospel dispensation. To Noah was revealed "good will toward men; the acceptance of sacrifice; faith as the condition and channel of blessing; and work, to spread the knowledge of, and trust in his name, i.e. what he is pleased to reveal concerning himself. But "the carnal mind" was there resisting the Spirit. Noah and his seed were to replenish the earth. They were promised safety from beasts, of whom, if separated, they might be afraid ( Genesis 9:2 ; cf. Matthew 10:29 , Matthew 10:31 ; Luke 10:19 ). Here was a trial of faith and obedience (cf. Exodus 34:24 ). But men had not faith, would not trust, would not go forth at his word. Their calling was to seek God's city ( Hebrews 11:10-16 ), to live as citizens of it ( Philippians 3:20 ). They chose a city for themselves; earthly security, comforts, luxuries. Called to glorify God's name, their thought was to make a name for themselves. Self was the moving power. The name of God is the trust of his people ( Psalms 20:7 ; Proverbs 18:10 ); a center of unity to all his children in every place. They trusted in themselves; would be like God to themselves. The tower, the work of their own hands, was to be their center of unity; and the name of it came to be Babel, i.e. confusion (cf. Matthew 15:13 ). Love draws mankind together. Self-seeking tends to separation. God bade them spread that they might be united in faith and in work. They chose their own way of union, and it led to dispersion with no bond of unity.

I. WE ARE CALLED TO BUILD THE CITY OF GOD (Hebrews 41:22). To prepare the way for Revelation 21:3 . The gifts of Christ are made effectual by the work of men. That city, built of living stones (1 Peter if. 5), cemented not with slime, but by unity of faith ( Ephesians 4:3 ). And a tower, a center of unity, the "good confession" ( Romans 14:11 ; Philippians 2:11 ). And to obtain a name, to be confessed by the Lord before the angels, to be acknowledged as his "brethren," and stamped with the "new name." And promise given, as if pointing to Babel: "Your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

II. MANY HAVE NO MIND TO BUILD . They love ease and have no earnestness, triflers with time, or direct their earnestness to earthly prizes—a name among men.

III. EVEN BELIEVERS ARE OFTEN THUS HINDERED . There may be spiritual selfishness along with really spiritual aims. The multitude of cares may distract the soul. Temptations may wear the garb of zeal, or of charity, or of prudence. Watch and pray. God's faithfulness will not fail ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ).— M .

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