Friday, July 15, 2011

From Towers to Altars

The account of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 screams arrogance. "Let us build a tower to heaven,' was the architect's brief. God judges it,scattering the builders into different tribes and dialects.

Enter Abraham in Genesis 12, his call the polar opposite to Babel. It starts with God calling Abraham by name, saying, "I will bless you and make you a blessing." God takes the initiative, and Abraham simply responds with ignorant obedience. He doesn't know much, but he acts decisively on what he does know. He builds an altar there as a reminder that He has responded to a God who has revealed Himself.

Scripture says that Abraham saw the Gospel in advance, he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. He knew that he was morally bankrupt; that he needed God to reach down to him and credit him with righteousness. He believed the impossible. His life was marked by repeated, ready obedience to God's initiative. His faith was feeble at times. He lapsed back into self-reliance, but his lapses didn't last long. God measured him on his average and called him the father of our faith. He somehow kept the gospel in focus. Just look what God did with him.

Often our faith begins with an altar but turns into a tower. We think we have to move past the gospel to something else. Discipleship. The Kingdom. Maturity. Signs and wonders. We fail to recognize that all these things take place under the shadow of God's initiative in the cross. Let's stay away from towers. Let's stay around altars. Let's connect the kingdom back to the gospel so that our faith doesn't turn into a white-knuckled, self-determined tower.Let's see what our great God will do with his people who respond to Him with faith at the altar of obedience.

"The kingdom of heaven is at hand: repent and believe the gospel"(Mark 1:15)


  1. Alan
    An interesting thing about Babel.
    God always had a plan (which He has continually repeated to mankind throughout history) and that plan was to create a Temple where He could dwell with His people - our part in that mandate (from Adam through to the Church) was to spread the presence and glory of God over the face of the earth, which we failed to do.
    Babel became the ultimate rebellion because instead of building a temple that expanded outward to the nations, they built one that gathered the nations to their project (which was meant to be God's part! hence the "they will become like Us" - not that they will be God, but they will think that they were God!).
    We are supposed to share and spread God to the nations, it is God who gathers the nations to Himself. Big difference; apostolic difference!

    Blessings bro, enjoying your postings

  2. great insight as always, Colin. bless you bro.