Genesis 11:1-4

Genesis 11:1-4

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” This is a statement of very powerful significance. It is often overlooked in our day because the Old Testament is held in such low esteem by the majority of bible scholars today. Upon close examination we find that nothing in the bible should be taken lightly. Disregarding the Old Testament is to show a complete disregard for God and His word. Jesus Himself said that the law would not pass until all scripture should be fulfilled. He said Moses and the prophets would be first fulfilled. Till heaven and earth pass it is the law which condemns and Jesus that saves. It has ever been and shall ever be so. Using a little common sense, the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets are by no means all fulfilled.

Mat 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Let us begin our study with language. The bible tells us here in our text that the whole earth was of one language. Just what is the significance of this and how does it affect us in our day? According to Mr. Noah Webster, language is the “expression of ideas by words or written symbols; mode of speech peculiar to a nation, a class, a profession etc.”

It is, in other words, the manner of communication used to express yourself to another. One of the things which separates man from the animals is his God given ability to communicate in a sophisticated manner, by use of language. As Mr. Webster says, there is one language which is peculiar to a nation. I am an American and I have a language which is to some nations a rude, barbaric manner of communication. I am from Mississippi, which tells of the fact that my language is peculiar in America to the area in which I live. Most of us in the south central U.S. have a somewhat slow and simple manner of communication considered by some to be unsophisticated and almost vulgar, due to much of our slang and slurring of words. I am a band saw operator which means that I have a language peculiar to my profession.

It all adds up to this. I am a mud between the toes, hillbilly, saw mill, Mississippi man. Put me with an educated surgeon from New York City. Buy us a cup of coffee and listen to the conversation. We may be able to enjoy one another’s company. We may become friends. We will first have to break through the cultural, and professional barriers to find a common language to share. I believe you can see the importance of language.

We must also consider this. Language is acquired, taught, and learned. You are not born with a language all your own. You must learn to communicate. As man learns he keeps in his mind what he considers to be important and discards the rest. Your language is only what you know, what you have learned.

Speech is something altogether different. According to the dictionary speech is “the faculty of expressing thoughts in words; enunciation; remarks; conversation, language; formal address; an oration.”

Now let’s look at our text once again. “And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.” What a fantastic thought. No matter how far from home you may be in a world like this, everybody speaks the same language. You would have no trouble communicating. There would be no reason for a missionary to learn a second language. There would be no searching for a way to express yourself to strangers. Everyone would think and know the same things. Everyone would say and do things in the same way. All would be the same in conversation. All would know and think alike.

That sounds like it would be great doesn’t it? It sounds like it would be a real blessing to be able to communicate with anyone and everyone in the world. We could all unite, we could get together. We could find some common ground upon which we could all stand together. United in the Lord.

Let us look again. In our text the word language is translated from the Hebrew word “saw-faw”. This Hebrew word means to scrape, to shave, to accumulate, increase, scatter, remove, ruin, perish.

That sheds a whole new light on our text. The fact that the whole earth was of one language and of one speech tells us that they had done just what men are doing today. Shaving, or scraping at the word of God to get it to say just what they want it too. Adding a little something here; taking away a little something there: Destroying the bible, and the teachings of the word of God.

Maybe being of one language and of one speech is not all that it is cracked up to be. You know what you have to do to reach that “Satanic Utopia?” You have to agree with people who say things like….

“I don’t believe in the virgin birth, but I believe that Jesus is God.”

“I believe Jesus is God’s son but He is not God.”

“We’re all going to the same place.”

“I don’t believe in a triune Godhead.”

“We shouldn’t preach against sin.”

“The miracles didn’t really happen, it is all just figurative language.”

“I believe in heaven but not hell.”

“God is love, He won’t send anybody to hell.”

It kind of makes you wonder how some of the brethren can say some of the things they say doesn’t it. It makes me look at some people sometimes and ask, “do we really speak the same language?” Food for thought.

“And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.”

We can see the obvious fact that all the earth being of one language tells us that they whole world had gotten to the place that they believed they had outgrown God. This is exactly the place that the greater part of the religious world has gotten too in our day. Before all the religious education began to fall to Satan’s question “yea hath God said?” Before everyone who claimed to have the call of God on them to preach thought they needed a degree in theology; Before men began to question the Holy Scriptures and argue about doctrine, religion was not a dirty word. People today say that God hates religion. That my friend is a lie of the devil. God, on the contrary, loves religion! Am I crazy? Let’s look at the word of God and see what He has to say.

Jas 1:26-27 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James tells that pure religion and undefiled before God is to exercise self control in verse 26; to love our neighbor and separate ourselves unto the Lord in verse 27. GOD LOVES RELIGION! PURE AND UNDEFILED RELIGION! If religion can be pure and undefiled, it is not a bad thing.

Here in Genesis 11 we find the earth populated with men much like today. They all knew there was a God. They all knew what God wanted from them and they were traveling West (from the east) which tells us that they had started out on their journey trying to get to God or seeking Him. Traveling from the east to the west; seeking to stay in the light. If you turn east to seek light, you wind up in the darkness all over again. You travel west to get to the light, to stay in the light, that pictures seeking God’s presence.

These people started out right but look what happened to them. While following the sun they found a place where the ground was level, a plain. No strain in traveling on the plain. No hills or mountains to overcome on the plain. The travel was easier, the burden seemed lighter. Why not settle here on the plain?

Many start on the road of Christianity and seem to be burning with desire to live Godly and be what God would have them to be. They seem to truly Christian. Most of the time, as hard as this may sound, people claim to be saved and they are not. They deceive themselves into thinking they are genuinely saved. Most who claim to be Christian are not. May are they that hear the word, “and anon with great joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Matthew 13:20-21)

Notice that these have no root in them. The root is that from which the plant grows. These people have no root, or indwelling of the Holy Spirit, nor faith. They simply follow a routine or an outward work to look like they have religion. They travel along fine until they see the mountains in the distance. That is when they want to settle in the plain. I have seen many people come forward, make a profession, call themselves Christians and then seek a church and a “religion” that suits their fleshly lusts and desires. Then they will settle on the plain; a place where you can take a drink of liquor and not be bothered. There won’t be anything spoken against being absent from the fellowship for the race track or the super bowl. No one minds if the church house and choir loft is full of ladies (so-called) dressed as if they just left the brothel. It doesn’t even bother the pastor or deacons if the world drives by to see the men enjoying a smoke on the front porch. Maybe that beer joint crowd will draw some of the world to the door.

People will call that crowd religious, HOGWASH! That is not unspotted from the world!

Well, in our text we see a picture of compromising God’s word in order to enjoy a lifestyle of ease, settling on the plain. And next, the inevitable result “they dwelt there.”

That is a terrible thing. When people seek to be comfortable in sin it is terrible. When they have sinful habits and can practice them without shame it is terrible. When a preacher won’t point out sin and call it what it is that is terrible. That is bad enough. Still, there is something even worse. To live in sin and never suffer for it is to be lost. God will judge you for your sin. If your are saved, God will straighten you out or He will take you out. “If ye be without chastisemen, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.”

My friends it is a terrible thing that a bunch of lost folks can hire a lost, man to stand in the pulpit and put up a sign claiming to be a church. But even worse, they will draw a crowd. The greatest shame in all of the world is a person dying without Jesus and going to hell from a church pew. Most of our liberals today are being led by those who have heard good preaching. They have heard men of God preach against sin and by and by, because of the word, they were offended. Because of preaching, they left and sought a place of comfort. They find a plain and dwell there.

“And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.”

The worst thing about false religion is that it takes men in by multitudes. Notice the “let us”. God has been excluded. He requires too much. He has too many rules and guidelines. We want our folks to be liberated from this. We have a better way. God doesn’t want anything man-made in His house. He doesn’t build with brick. Brick in scripture is a picture of lost man, it is hardened clay. Here they have plotted to proselyte or make more just like them. Today men seek to harden the hearts of others to the point of hating. They want to build a religion and a church. In order to do this you must have people. In order to have people you must reach them and they must have a desire to be with you, to be like you. That is how you build a church these days. You just recruit and offer them something they want. The most effective is freedom to live any way they want too without fear of hearing it preached about. Don’t stand for or against anything. Let people believe that if it feels good it is ok to do it. Most churches today are simply products of a very business minded pastor. They are comfortable, hardened to the truth about sin and God’s hatred of it. Members are merely bricks in an earthly building.

These churches are also pictured in this verse in the way that they are held together. Slime for mortar. Mortar, with age, becomes stronger, more solid, it is a permanent bond. Slime, on the other hand, is just a sticky mess which will wash away over time, leaving nothing but a filthy stain. Water makes mortar able to grip and hold even in the tightest spots and smallest recesses of the stones used in construction. Slime is weakened by water. Water is a picture of the word of God in scripture. The word of God will strengthen, bond and keep a church together. Yet the water of the word of God will eventually wash the slime away from false religion and it will crumble. Slime in itself tells us something. The slime spoken of here is tar. Science tells us that tar is the decayed, aged remains of things that once had life. In other words, it is dead.

Look at this picture of a modern church.

Liberal (of one language, everyone agreeing with everyone);

unsanctified (of one speech, everyone doing that which is right in his own eyes);

Hateful to anyone who won’t “agree” with them, (brick, burned thoroughly, hardened


slime for mortar (held together by something dead that can’t stand agains the water of the word).

Many churches today are held together by a live and let live philosophy. A dead philosophy.

By contrast, God does not work this way. God uses the gospel to break the stony hearts of men. He uses the water of the word to make us clean and bond us together, forming the church. Jesus being the Chief cornerstone we are all to be like Him, to line up with Him; Conformed to His image.

The most striking resemblance to our modern day movements is finding their own way. Men want to build themselves a tower to heaven. Everyone seeks to have it all their own way. That liberal idea that we all have our own interpretation of God’s word and we are all going to the same place just on a different path. It is a lie of the devil which creates a thirst in a man to worship as he pleases. But God commands all men everywhere to repent. God will put a thirst in a man for truth. That old time religion that was good enough for the men who wrote it down by inspiration of God. The only way to satisfy that thirst is to drink from the well that never runs dry. We who are saved seek to drink of that water of life, the word of God. We look to Jesus, as did Peter, and ask where else we could go for, “thou has the words of life.”

Failure to yield to God’s word is what makes men want to rewrite it. They have their own interpretation of it and want to put it in their own words.

God’s word if perfect and needs not to be changed. You must seek God for understanding. If you are a child of God you will accept God’s word whether you understand it or not. You will obey. You will walk by faith. Or you will suffer for it.

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Genesis 11:1-4


14 Responses to Genesis 11:1-4

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