Oops!

Bible Book: Genesis  11
Subject: Humanism
Series: The Look Back That Makes You Look Up
Introduction

Bob was very tired of his friend Bubba, who was always name-dropping. "If you're such a big shot, why don't you go over to the phone, call the White House, and get the President on the line?"

"Okay," said Bubba. He punched in a number and in a few seconds someone answered the phone. Bubba handed the phone to Bob. "Hello, this is the president," said the familiar voice on the other end.

Bob thought it was a trick. "Okay, that was impressive," said Bob. "But if you are really such a hotshot, why don't you call Buckingham Palace and let me talk with the queen?" Bubba clicked some numbers on his cell phone and handed the receiver to Bob. "Hello," came a distinctive voice, "This is the Queen of England speaking."

Bob was very impressed, but still very suspicious. "All right, you happen to know the president and the queen. But if you're really a big deal, you'll get the pope on the phone."

"I'll do better than that," said Bubba. Bubba took Bob to the airport and they boarded a plane to the Vatican. There Bubba disappeared, leaving Bob to mill about with the crowd in St. Peter's Square. Suddenly the crowd became silent. Bob followed everyone's gaze to the balcony, where Bubba and the pope stood side by side. Before Bob could recover from his amazement, a man standing beside him poked him in the ribs. With a heavily accented voice the man asked, "Who's that up there on the balcony with Bubba?"

We all enjoy being significant and it hurts us if someone misuses our names or even misspells them. That is a normal human reaction, but there is a danger when our significance is found outside of God. We are going to read tonight about a people who wanted to make a name for themselves and they learned the hard lesson that doing something without God leads to real trouble in life.

As we learned when I presented my Book, Panorama of the Bible, there are four great events in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. They are:

1. The Creation
2.The Fall
3. The Flood
4. The Tower of Babel

Tonight we are going to look at the Tower of Babel. In this story, we see a people who tried to build without God, they tried to reach heaven without God, and they tried to make a name for themselves without God. I have titled the message, Oops! Here we see how humanism failed completely and always will fall flat on its face! I gave this sermon this title because it describes the reaction man will be forced to make again and again when he tries to go forward without acknowleding God in his affairs. The final reaction will come when the lost person arrives before God and realizes that he build his life on sinking sand. That is the ultimate Oops!

To properly look at this Scripture this evening, I want us to view it from the viewpoint of a society seeking to get along without God and a society seeking to solve problems without God. Certainly we have that today. And isn’t it true that the humanistic solutions lead to one Oops after another? Certainly it does!

I love history and I try to read a book about history or a historical novel every month. It has amazed me as I read about the history of different nations and the historical lives of individuals how they possess such wisdom and make so many foolish mistakes. Someone has said that today's solution is tomorrow's problem, and that is always true if you leave the Living God out of the equation.

I. First, Look at the Commander in the Humanistic Society

In Genesis 10:8, 9, we read of Nimrod who became the leader of the empire of Babylon. We need to see some things about him.

A. Defiant

His name means rebellion or defiance, and it is very fitting since he was living and ruling in defiance against God. His goals were grand and apparently his leadership skills were well honed but, like Lucifer, he acted for the sake of his own glory. Defiance of the Lord always ends in defeat, for the Lord will not share His glory with any man. Nimrod had a powerful personality and he had gifts that could have been used by God for good, but he chose to use them for himself, in defiance of God. We see this all over the world today. Many despots are gifted leaders but they use their gifts against God rather than in step with the Lord. This always leads to a big, fatal "oops" at the end of the road.

B. Dictator

Nimord was a hunter, but he did not hunt animals. rather he hunted men. He wanted to rule mankind and bring all people under subjection to him. He is the first of the dictator types recorded in written history. His desire included uniting all people in a one-world government, something like that which is used to describe the anti-christ in the Book of Revelation. In every dictator there is a little anti-Christ, a mini-type of the real one that is to come. A dictator views "self" as the sole decision maker in life, not only for himself but for all those over whom he has power. We see this today in the leader of North Korea, and we saw it in Fidel Castro all those years in Cuba. Everywhere in the world that man places himself as supreme ruler the people suffer, the economy staggers, advancements in science lag, medical care is behind the curve and people are treated like animals - to be used for the leaders purpose. Nimrod was such a man - a dictator and an anti-Christ figure.

II. Second, Look at the Course in the Humanistic Society

In the days when Nimrod ruled everyone spoke the same language. God told Noah and his family to populate the earth and that meant that the people spawned from the Ark-family were to spread out over the earth; however, the people described in our text did not want to be scattered, so they settled in Shinar, in the empire of Babylon.

When England tried to suppress the Revolutionary movement in the United States, one of their first acts was to prohibit any residents in the New Land (America) from living "beyond the mountains." In other words, they wanted everyone living in cities and towns. Why was this the wish of the British? The reason was for the purpose of having everyone under a central control. If people scattered out over the landscape of the new world, it would become impossible for the king in England to keep them under his thumb. Americans defied the British rule and moved to the mountains west of North Carolina and Tennessee. What England dreaded came to pass when the over-the-mountain boys came east and trapped the British soldiers at King's Mountain, North Carolina. Thomas Jefferson said that what the over-the-mountain boys did in one day at King's Mountain by defeating the best of the British soldiers there accomplished more than George Washington did in three weeks up north.

At any rate, those who wish to rule want everyone in a central location so they can corral and control them. You can see that happening now in America and around the world as more people become concentrated in big cities and less people live on farms and in rural areas. Perhaps this is part of the movement toward the last days when a single evil leader will set up a one-world government against God.

It is a certainty that Nimrod wanted everyone under his control and located in one area. He had them there and had them speaking one language. Everything looked as if his plans were set in an irreversible motion to create a one-world government under his rule. But, the course he had chosen was against God and was a failure fromt he beginning.

Note with me a couple of important facts that led to Nimrod's collapse.

A. Turning from the Light

The followers of Nimrod came from the east with their backs to the rising sun, which is a picture of the fact that they had already turned their backs on the Daystar - away from the light of God. Their action was symbolic of all mankind, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, as we are told in Romans 3:23. Sin is an act of turning our back on the glory of God - the light of God - and going our own way. All of us at one time or another have turned our backs on God and moved toward darkness.

B. Turning from the Lord

Note the words, "Let us." That was their theme song! They joined together in rebellion against that which God had spoken. Where did they get this idea? They got it from Nimrod, the one who had founded the city and the area.

One of the great dangers in this world is our tendency to "go with the flow," or to accept culture as being appropriate. "Everyone is doing it," is the mantra of the society of the Nimrod people. The question, in terms of behavior and morals, should be, "What does God say about this?"

As they turned from the Lord, they sought to build a city, a tower and a name for themselves. They began to build using bricks made of clay and slime. That does not sound very good does it? It wasn’t very good at all. Rebellious man tried to build a city out of dirt and filth, when God is described as building heaven of precious stones and gold. Which sounds the best to you? When we try to do things without God, it always results with something far less than God has in mind for us. God has a city for us not made with hands - the city of God. Those who think they can make their way to God with their own works are actually just playing with mud pies and are doomed to defeat.

We need to remember that God’s original intent was for mankind to live in tents. They were to live as strangers looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. But the people in Babel wanted to build a city on earth and to unite themselves in rebellion against God. They wanted something permanent, but there is nothing permanent in this world. Only God provides that which is lasting and eternal.

Socialism, humanism and communism are related, for in each case there are leaders or a group of leaders who think they have the answers to all of societies problems. They wish to take away individual freedom and impose a dictatorial system upon mankind. They create a governmental system that replaces God and Nimrod was the archetype of the kind of leadership.

The people wanted to build a tower that would be a temple tower, since it appears that it was to be a Ziggurat. The top was to be an altar upon which sacrifices were to be made, probably human sacrifices. Some believe that this is the beginning of false religious worship or perhaps the beginning of astrology. The tower to heaven might well have been a false religion based on the idea that each constellation represented a god. So, the people worshipped the stars or the gods they felt were behind them. Look in Deuteronomy 4:19 and see the command of God, "And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars - all the heavenly array - do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." Yet, that is just what Nimrod was leading the people to do in defiance of God's command. He was directing them toward a false, man-made religion that was doomed to defeat.

III. Third, Look at the Consequences in the Humanistic Society

A. Confusion

Humanism leads to confusion, which is one of the devil's schemes. If he can confuse society, he can lead the people away from God. We live in a very confused society today - more confused than at any time in history.

Let's look at an example using the awful act of abortion. If a man attacks a woman and her baby is killed in her womb, the man can be tried for manslaughter or murder of the unborn infant. If, however, she has an abortion, it is perfectly legal. In other words, if the mother wishes to call her baby a fetus, it is not human. On the other hand, if she wishes to call her unborn child a baby, it is indeed human. Does that make any sense at all? Certainly, it does not! But that is the result of humanistic thinking and that is the world we live in today as people turn away from the truth, from the light and from God! You can see this kind of thinking in many areas of life in America and around the world today.

B. Condemnation

God came down and confused the people so that they could not understand each other completely, and the next day they could not understand a single word which a neighbor spoke. They were forced to scatter because they could not understand each other’s language. Now pay close attention at this point. Language is the ability to share ideas. The communication of a message against God is done with language. A message for God is also done with language. God scattered the people by distorting their language, but since that time the devil has been seeking a way to unite all people into one group using an identical or similar language, government and behavior. That is why you read in the Book of Revelation about a one-world government, one-world religion and a one-world economy that will exist as the world nears the end of time as we know it.

The true uniting of people is meant to be spiritual and not humanistic, and we see this clearly at Pentecost when the people of different languages could understand God's message and understand each other clearly. People can only be united when they speak in Biblical terms rather than in humanistic terms. This battle has been going on since the days of Babel and will go on till our Lord returns.

Just think about the difference between humanism and God's Spirit sent to His people at Pentecost:

The people in Babel were divided through a language of guilt.
The people of Pentecost are united in a language of grace.
The people in Babel were divided through a language of confusion.
The people of Pentecost are united in a language that brought conversion.
The people in Babel were divided through a language of rebellion.
The people of Pentecost are united in a language of rejoicing.
The people of Babel were divided through a language doomed to destruction.
The people of Pentecost are united in a language destined for eternal victory!
Conclusion

Just because something looks good does not mean that it is beneficial. The only way to know the difference between that which is best for you and that which is not best is to trust God and obey His Word. Man has been trying to devise a way to win his own battles for generations but his failure occurs when he denies the spiritual, divine dimension in life. Nimod learned this the hard way and so have countless millions since.

Turn to the Lord and the Light of the World, Jesus! His Kingdom is forever. He offers salvation and freedom from the tyranny of sin. He promises a unified, utopian society under His control one day in the future. He is mankind's only hope!