Hold on to the truth
‘And they said, Go to, let 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.’ Genesis 11:4
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Joshua 24:1–24
Note their attempt to build a city and a tower: a city for residence and a tower for worship—this seems the meaning of the expression ‘whose top—to the heavens’ [verse 4]. The words ‘may reach’ are in italics [in the AV], as not belonging to the Hebrew, and therefore only express the private judgement of the translator. It is not probable they thought to reach heaven. And if they had intended it as a refuge in case of another flood, they would have rather built upon a mountain than in a plain. At most the expression is hyperbolical, to signify a very high tower. But some supply the words, ‘whose top shall be sacred to the heavens’. This seems to have been the first open establishment of idolatry and the tower designed for a temple, dedicated to the worship of the host of heaven—that is the sun, moon and stars. Man, considered as a member of society, is naturally disposed for religious worship and there has no nation so distant or barbarous been found, but pays some acknowledgement to superior powers—excepting only in places where the light of the gospel has been resisted (in that case, a few have been so hardened and given up to a reprobate mind, as to renounce all thoughts of religion). Man—as a fallen creature—though he will have a religion, will always incline to and take up with a false one, if not prevented by grace. And mankind are disposed to relinquish the truth when they have known it. These were the descendants of Noah who worshipped the true God, and yet soon became idolaters. And human nature is the same still—prone to leave the truth and to follow after vanity.
FOR MEDITATION: Parents: endeavour to inculcate the truths of the gospel upon your children and pray to the Lord to open their hearts. Or else, like the family of Noah, they will surely forsake their parents’ God.
Children: think not to say, We have Abraham for our father [John 8:39]. Trust not to notions and the restraints of a religious education. If you do not attain to an experimental hold of the truth, you will not hold it long.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 21 [2/3], GENESIS 11:1ff.