The Point Of God's Providence

The Point Of God's Providence

by Laura Neighbors

What is God’s providence? In our 9am Bible hour this last week, we learned that God’s providence is God’s personal and direct intervention, as opposed to a hands off approach, that affects not only the natural order of things but also the individuals and events within human history. As we studied Genesis 11, we saw that the people had come to a conclusion: they wanted to settle together, make a name for themselves, and build a tower to the heavens in order to accomplish their goals.

As a kid, I always thought that the desire of the people who were building the tower was to reach God. But, after reading the passage more carefully, we find that the tower wasn’t really about God at all. The tower was about the people. You see, back in Genesis 9, God had instructed Noah and his family to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”. And in chapter 10, we see that they did just that, generation after generation. But the people who gathered at the beginning of chapter 11 didn’t want to spread out anymore. In fact, they were looking to solve a problem they felt they had—to make a place where many could be. Now on the outside, it may not seem like a big deal. So what? They want to be together. They want to live in the same area. They want to name the place. What’s the harm? The problem was they forgot to acknowledge God. They forgot why they were on the earth in the first place.

We are not here simply to fill the earth and make things. We are on this earth to do what Adam and Eve did before they chose to sin—to walk with God. We were made to worship Him. Our purpose and being is to point back to Him. All of creation, life itself, all began with God. He has always been and is over all. My life, your life, the people of Babylon’s lives, were to be built with Him as the focus. With a life built on Him, I have purpose! No matter what I do for vocation…where I live..or my social status, my purpose is to lift God high. That’s why we were made. And, in accomplishing that purpose, we find belonging and fulfillment!

But, much like the people building the tower of Babel, I often build my life on what lifts me higher. I distort God’s purpose for my life and look for ways to satisfy what I want in any given moment. Acceptance from others, attention for myself, adoration for who I am and what I do… I, just like the people of Babylon, use the talents, gifts, and skills given to me by God to gain what I want out of my life. Very quickly, I turn from a life built on God and His purposes to seeking personal fulfillment in what gives me immediate satisfaction. In my sin of selfishness and pride, I put God aside and build “towers” for myself. These “towers” are based on the belief that I deserve and need the things I’m working for and that God’s purpose for my life is not enough.

So, what was God’s response to the people building the Tower of Babel? He made it so that the people were not able to understand one another and had to disperse. Why? Because God wanted the people to be reminded that He is over all things and He is the reason why they were alive. The dispersion wasn’t about not wanting that group of people to spend time with one another, but to remind them that their lives weren’t about them, their comfort, and their name. Their lives were to be built on God, His glory, and His name. He is over all and uses even a form of judgment, like confusing the language of the people in Genesis 11, to accomplish his purpose. We aren’t sure what happened to the tower of Babel. Scripture doesn’t tell us that God destroyed it, so we have to assume it just sat there..sat there and reminded people that building on anything other than God is fruitless and will eventually fall apart.

What are some broken down towers I can look back on in my own life?

In what areas am I building my life on myself and my desires and not on God and my purpose of lifting Him high?

Have I acknowledge God today to see what HE wants me to do, say, and be a part of in my life right now?

As you consider the thoughts above, here are a few resources to help you better worship God this week:

When God Mercifully Ruins Our Plans [Desiring God Article]

Babel: The Tragedy of Man [Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones Sermon]

The Tower of Babel [Gospel Project Kids Video]

Word Study on “Iniquity” [Bible Project Video]

God’s Great Family [Sovereign Grace Kids Worship]

My Worth Is Not In What I Own [Shane & Shane Worship Song]

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