Digging deep into those four verses in Genesis 10 about Nimrod set the stage for the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. But, so what. What does understanding the culture and the people of those days mean for us today and how can we apply it to our lives here in 2015?
As I read commentaries and cross references in the Bible, three things stuck out to me that can be gleaned and applied to our lives.
1. It is more important to be obedient to God than to worship Him.
2. The heart attitude is essentially the key.
3. God’s plan will become reality.
Both of these points stood out in contrast to the actual way Nimrod lived out his life. And they were reinforced by other people in the Bible. The commentaries encouraged the parallel between Cain and Nimrod as well as brought out Samuel’s instruction by Ely.
Our Heart Attitude is Everything.
Nimrod’s Tower of Babel was similar to Cain’s offering of fruit. The heart from which the offering came was outwardly right but inwardly wicked and wrong. Nimrod set up the tower on the pretense that it was to worship God, but his heart’s intention was to bring glory to himself. He was not interested in helping the people fill the earth, but rather to keep them from being scattered.
God warned Cain not to let the sin that was crouching at his door master him, but Cain did not listen. We don’t know if God tried to intervene with Nimrod, but we can be sure that Satan had a hold on him. Both men rejected God, his goodness and his plan, instead doing what felt right and what seemed good in their own eyes.
As we see in scripture and experience over and over again in our own lives, going through the motions and saying/doing the right things is not what saves us or pleases God. Our works mean nothing towards our salvation, rather it is the saving grace of God that produces the proper heart attitude resulting in the good works.
Obedience Is More Important Than Worship
Obedience is actually a very important act of worship. 1 Samuel 15:22 tells us that it is better to obey than to worship. God had commanded Noah and his 3 sons to multiply and fill the earth, which meant to be separated and scattered throughout the land, establishing governments. Nimrod, however, tried to build a central place to worship and a city that would keep them from being scattered. This was in direct defiance to God’s original plan and it was not blessed by God. Rather, it became necessary to completely thwart his plans and actually produced harsh consequences. If they had obeyed and spread out on their own, there would have only been one language and families could have enjoyed keeping in touch and maintaining relationships. Instead, their different languages separated them and severed relationships. Disobedience produced heartache.
We need to be aware of our heart attitude and be sure that our worship is more than “just a song”. Our hearts need to be open and softened to the Holy Spirit’s call on our life. The way we live our lives and the things that we do need to be our ultimate act of worship as we obey our King.
God’s Plan Will Become Reality
God’s instruction was to multiply and fill the earth, which inevitably would have caused people to spread out and families would have governed themselves as the need arose due to family growth. However, Nimrod huddled the people into his cities and intended to keep the people from being scattered. But God’s plan prevailed. It didn’t have to be so traumatic on the people, but drastic measures needed to be taken after Nimrod began implementing his rebellion.
We can be sure that God is sovereign and that His plan will prevail. No matter how hard our circumstances are or what we are faced with, God is ultimately in control. And there is blessing in obedience. Henry Morris believes that Noah and Shem’s family did not participate in the rebellion and the original pre-flood language was preserved because of their obedience and loyalty to God even though everyone else’s life was uprooted.
I don’t know about you, but I am very thankful for the warning and the encouragement- so thankful that studying God’s word brings out truths to enrich our lives. I never in a million years thought 4 simple verses would have the roots below to uncover some amazing truths. After seeing the big picture and understanding the dynamics, I am encouraged to seek God’s will, obey His call on my life and trust his plan not only in my life but in the world around me that seems to be falling apart.
Which truth resonated with you today?