Building Greatness (Tower of Babel)

The Story continues …

Dropped into the middle of this “table of nations” in Genesis 10, and then nestled in the opening verses of Genesis 11, is the remarkable story of the Tower of Babel. It’s a story of human creativity in this first truly “global city,” and of God’s ability to reveal the misdirected ambition underlying that creativity.

The Story also makes a turning point in Scripture. Immediately after these vents at Babel, God sets in motion His plan to bless “all the families of the earth” through Abram (later called Abraham), a man from who Jesus Christ would eventually descend and bring this promise to fulfillment.1

Notice the strategic placement of this narrative, for the city of Babel occupies more than a place of the world map. It’s central to the map of the unfolding history of the world. The extraordinary account of Babel sounds forth its momentous message—so we simply cannot afford to miss it as we seek God’s view of the world, of the city, of our lives.

Tower of Babel

Message title: Building Greatness (Tower of Babel)
Fifth week of God of Promise
Scriptures: Genesis 10-11
Preacher: Jeff Patterson
Date: 1/25/15

Listen or download:


“What fame could possibly be greater, what identity could be more meaningful, than the simple glorious fact of being created in the image of God?!”

Scripture reading: Genesis 10:1, 31; 11:1-9:

Nations Descended from Noah

10:1 These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.

31 These are the sons of Shem, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations. 32 These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.

The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused[a] the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

a. Genesis 11:9: Babel sounds like the Hebrew for confused

God of Promise Resource:

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs2  was referenced in the message, as “incomplete.” Notice: what (or who) is missing from the pyramid? (God doesn’t even make the organizational chart.)

Maslow's hierarchy

Audio for this teaching may be played above, and is included in the RENEW Church podcastsubscribe in iTunes here, or access the church podcast feed directly here.

This year we each of us are invited on an adventure to look up and love God first. What will be your plan to develop a new rhythm of seeking God each day? » Find some help here.

  1. Genesis 12:3; Matthew 1:2-16; Galatians 3:16
  2. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970): father of humanistic psychology and creator of “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”

Tags: , , ,