August 18, 2006

What Shall We Build?


This morning I read about the tower of Babel. I have never read the entire Old Testament and am thoroughly enjoying it and am feeling blessed every day by it. I also read some notes along with the chapter and in studying them I was surprised to find a different way of looking at humankind's goal of world peace, living in harmony with one another almost as an end to itself. God had told Noah that he and his descendants should multiply and spread about the world, but generations later the Babel inhabitants decided to stay put and build a tower to the top of heaven to make a name for themselves instead. (It is amazing to me when I read of things that God saw as sinful, that we now think are perfectly healthy for us to do or hope to achieve. Who doesn't think it's great to make a name for themselves?) The Babel people evidently set about worshipping their collective power to create and God knew that they would continue along this selfish path rather than turn to and live for Him, so he confused their speech, gave them different languages and spread them about the earth. He was certainly not going for our definition of world peace there, so what in the world was He driving at? It seems that He was trying to make people less dependent on one another and their collective strength and turn their dependency back upon Him - the omniscient, all-powerful One. It's not solidarity among people God wants, it's oneness with Him. And through that oneness, His miracles will provide ultimate and perfect world peace beyond anything we can strive for or conceive. How can and why would we trust ourselves above Omniscience?

I think about my slow evolution toward God and look at all the times I thought my own power was sufficient. This last year I've had big opportunities to rely solely on the power of God and what I've seen is staggering. I couldn't have imagined the power of God to change and create good in my life...I couldn't even have imagined the level of "good" possible in order to aim for it accurately in the first place. I know there are some things I see as "good" and I have been forced to change that to see some of God's idea of "good". And it soothes my soul. I'm seeing faith as letting go of my own definitions and following God. He's a better definer than I. Sometimes I see it like the child-parent relationship. What my kids see as good and approprite is so very often not good and I hope they'll trust my definition so I can steer them correctly until their eyes are opened further. I know that's what God wants from me, to trust Him exclusively. I am so excited to see what He'll do next in our lives. I know it's greater than a tower and richer than any human goal, no matter how well-intentioned. Because God is building something perfect, and I - alone or with others - cannot .

7 comments:

Tia said...

Jennie, thank you so much for your supportive words on my blog. I have faith, as you do, that I will always find treasures wherever I go, because they are simply all around us. As challenging as this time is for me, it is also such an exciting time and I am excited even about the challenge that it beings, because it teaches me so much!

I love what you posted here. Just yesterday I journaled about how lately I feel more and more as if my entire existance was one giant prayer. That how I conduct myself from one moment to the next is my answer to God, to the universe, to the Eternal Spirit that connects all living things. How I treat what I throw in the trash can be no different than what I treasure as my most valued posessions. It is all a part of us - and what I do effects all other beings.

Always so good to come here.

kristen said...

interesting look at the tower of babel and ideas of world peace. and it's interesting the changes between the old testament god and the new testament god. i think that i would describe my faith as a spiritual path that takes lots of things from several different religions -- so in a way, i'm sort of letting the different languages happen. sometimes when i'm feeling lost, i just need to put things out there and hope that what i've done is good and good will return. i don't know that i can just fully trust that god (or the great spirit, or the powers that be) know what's best. i feel that we should be interdependent (i think that's the word i want) on our friends, family, neighbors, as well as that higher power. i hope this makes some kind of sense and is not just babbling about babel *grin*

thank you for the comment on my blog :)

Jennie said...

Kristin, I'm glad to have you babble here whenever "the spirit moves you." ;-)

Paul said...

I wanted to share this with you. There's a soft spot in my psych for the Tower of Babel because when I was a freshman in college I gave a speech (Speech 101). Here's the synopsis.

I believe that two miracles occurred at the Tower of Babel.

The first was the confusion of languages. The other was an instant change in our skin colors/tones and facial features.


Remember: the Lord wanted us to scatter around the earth. Was speed important to Him then? Maybe. Which is why the second miracle.

Imagine all the people at Babel running around from person to person asking, "Do you speak English? Do you speak English?" How long would that take?

Now imagine all the people at Babel discovering that they had suddenly changed. And
then, "There's some people over there that look like me. I wonder if they speak Mandarin, too."

So all the people with slanted, almond-shaped eyes quickly grouped together and headed east. The people with very dark skin headed to the African continent. Tallish people with reddish skin built boats and sailed to Peru and Guatemala and the Amazon forest—and even America! Fair-haired and fair-skinned people went north. And many people remained in the middle east.

I have a little bit of information to support my theory.

First, every known group of people who ever lived has a "flood epic" or "flood story." That includes the most remote peoples ever known and every American Indian tribe. Interesting, huh?

Second, ancient boats made of papyrus were discovered on the eastern coasts of Central and South America. What? Papyrus only grows in Egypt!

Third, ziggurats in Mexico, Central and South America are virtually identical to the ancient buildings known at the time of Babel. Some of the picture drawings are remarkably similar!

Fourth, well…there's more.

Talking about "rocking the cradle" of civilization! When the Lord moves, He moves, doesn't he? And he leaves behind the most intriguing clues.

I'm the only person I know who has this idea. Food for thought. God bless your Bible reading. I should be so faithful. Thank you for this space.

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