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Beginnings in Genesis – Avoiding a Scattering

May 13, 2008

…over the face of the earth
gen 11:4

Here is another curious yet ultimately familiar dimension to human existence. Alongside the most profound and arrogant hubris there is deep insecurity and anxiety.

These people, on the one hand want to storm heaven (gen 11:3,4a), but they are also scared of being lonely.

So they huddle together, they fear getting lost in the unknown trackless desert with strange places and faces, so they huddle together. They fear becoming restless rootless wanderers, as Cain became earlier in the story.

It’s very human isn’t it, this tendency to huddle. How many of us are wearing labels: what are they? Why have manufacturers got such a hold on us? How and when did we cede such power to these things to affect our emotional and spiritual well-being?

Two reasons at least occur to me. 1. we think that wearing these labels affords us some reputation, some name; we’re with the cool kids. and, 2. we are afraid of being different. Afraid of being left out and lonely. So the manufacturers of designer labels are exploiting this age-old Babel complex.

But God made each of us as individuals, not slaves to the global conglomerates. We all have our unique individuality, given by God after careful consideration. He created us to take our unique place in this wonderful world and the last thing he wants is for us to be squeezed into the world’s mold. Don’t conform, be transformed, as Paul says. rejoice in our individuality and that of those around us, and in this way we glorify God.

This fear of diversity has led to a suspicion of people of different colour and language and beliefs. Better to huddle together they think. All of us have seen TV footage of hundreds of thousands of people raising their hands in a single salute, both awe-inspiring and terrifying. People by nature fear geographic, linguistic, ethnic diversity. Fear of different races, religion and culture.

If left unchecked we can only guess at what human beings are capable of, but God knows, so he scattered them.

The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Genesis 11:6

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