The Danger of Disobedience (Genesis 11:2–4) - Radical

The Danger of Disobedience (Genesis 11:2–4)

“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.”
-Genesis 11:2–4

So this is the story of how the Tower of Babel came about, and the effects of that, when God scattered people all over the earth, with different languages, where they couldn’t understand one another. So why, why did God do that, and basically, if you had to summarize what we just heard in Genesis 11:2–4, you got two main issues. One, there’s disobedience to God’s command to multiply and fill the earth. God had said very clearly, to man and woman, in Genesis chapter one, the very beginning, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth with image for my glory.
Yet, what we see here in Genesis 11:2–4 is the exact opposite. That people find a place, and they settle there, they want to stay in one place there, instead of multiplying and filling the earth as God had called them to. So you’ve got disobedience to God’s command to multiply and fill the earth. And then second, you have disregard for God’s name as supreme over all. They say to themselves, let’s build a city, and a tower, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.

We must give attention to our tendencies to disobey and be selective with God’s commands.

They wanted to exalt themselves by disobeying God’s command. So, as I read this, I think about both of these tendencies in my own life. I’d encourage you to think about your life. Tendencies to one, disregard God’s commands. Like, if we’re not careful, can be selective at best with God’s commands. God says, do this, do this, live this way, share the gospel. Honor this person that way, I think about this in my life.

Genesis 11:2–4 Includes Tendencies Of Disobeying God

I want to encourage you to think about this in your life, both of these tendencies in you and me. First, a tendency to disobey God’s commands. At best, to be selective with God’s commands. To say yeah okay, I’ll obey God in these ways, but I won’t obey God in these ways. I was talking with somebody just the other day about just the tendency that we all have to, okay, we’ll study the Bible, but then we won’t share the gospel. Like, oh, that doesn’t make sense. We’ll hear from God, but we’ll not help others hear from God, like no, no. But we had this tendency, and it looks different in all of our lives, so we have this tendency to be selective with God’s commands, to disobey God’s commands, and then to disregard his glory, to want to see ourselves exalted instead of seeing God exalted.

Now, I think this one’s a lot more subtle, at least when I think about my own life. Like I think I want God to be exalted, but I think the problem is, I also kind of like when I’m exalted. I don’t want to be exalted above God. However, I really still have, in so many ways, in my heart, a desire for myself, my own name. This is odd, just feels so pervasive, in me, for people to think well of me, instead of just thinking well of God. No matter what they think of me. I see in my own heart, and wonder how much you see in your own heart, just a tendency to disregard God’s supremacy over all, to where his name is all that matters to us, it’s all that matters, our name doesn’t matter at all.

This Verse Prays To Obey God and His Glory

So we need to pray, God help us. God help us not to be guilty of sin in the ways we see in Genesis 11:2–4. God help us to obey all our commands. Help us to do all that you call us to do in your word. Help us not to be selective. We pray that you would uncover blind spots in our lives, where we are tempted to ignore your commands, in ways we don’t even realize. God help us to walk in obedience to you, to do according to your word today. And in it, to desire your glory above all, help us to long to see your name exalted, and our name forgotten.

Help us, deliver us from a desire for any exaltation of our name, any exaltation of ourselves. God, you’re the only one who deserves glory, you’re the only one who deserves to be exalted. So I pray oh God, be exalted in my life, be exalted in our lives. And help us to forget about ourselves. Help us not to think about ourselves, help us to think about you, and about the name of Jesus, about the supremacy and the love of Jesus being made known, so that more people love you, love Jesus, than they even think about us.
God, may that be our hearts, make that our hearts we pray. Help us to obey your commands, and live for your glory today. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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