Tuesday, May 4, 2010

two beams and three nails

The Word for today:
Jeremiah 51:1-58

 The Bible student should know that Babel and Babylon are the same place.

Called Babel in Genesis 11, it's where the Tower was built: 
"Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven..."

Called Babylon throughout the rest of the Bible, it's the place to which the people were  deported in the book of Jeremiah.

Two chapters in Isaiah (13 and 14) are largely devoted to the judgment of Babylon.  The book of Daniel was written in Babylon.  The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah are mainly about the return from Babylon and the restoration of Jerusalem. Revelation 17 and 18 describe the destruction of Babylon:
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
"Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes." (excerpted from Revelation 18:2-5)

Babel/Babylon serves as a symbol of mankind's seminal sins--pride and idolatry.
1. Pride--
"Let us make a name for ourselves." (Genesis 11:4)
The people of Babel made a name for themselves, all right.  But not the kind of name they wanted.  Our word 'babble'--meaning mixed up, confused, and meaningless--is derived from their name.

2.  Idolatry--
Idolatry, more than any other sin, caused God to send Jerusalem into captivity.  And because Babylon was the world center of idolatry, God chose to send them there.  It was as if to say, 'If it's idolatry you want, it's idolatry you'll get.'
The people of Israel were so sickened by the rampant idolatry of Babylon that they were cured!  Never again in their entire history would they fall into idolatry.  They were healed completely--but it took severe judgment to do it.

Babel/Babylon represents humanity's desire to reach up and pull God down. But they couldn't reach high enough. So God had to stoop down low enough to lift man up.

And he did:
Emptying himself, he took the form of a bond-servant.  Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming  obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)

We couldn't reach God by building a tower, so a carpenter made a way with two beams and three nails.

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