Tower of Babel

Last week when I was praying for our country, the story of the Tower of Babel came to mind. The Holy Spirit-inspired Genesis 11 account described a whole world with one language and common speech. Sounds like real unity, doesn’t it?

These people decided to build a huge tower not out of stones but out of brick and mortar. Their reason? “So that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole world.” Sound familiar?

Nothing wrong with that! Or is there? God saw the pride they had in their achievements and what it would lead to. Because we are sinful people, our achievements basked in arrogance most likely lean toward evil, even if it’s subtle and seemingly justified by circumstances.

Call me crazy but comparing our nation and the folks back in that primitive time is overwhelmingly parallel. When I hear “Make America Great Again,” I understand that if America was ever great, it was because of God. One nation under God should mean we follow His goodness and precepts.

The political schism we are experiencing could be God letting us go our own way, drifting from unity into a self-created chaos due to our arrogant, Godless actions. Corporate lobbying, despicable labor practices overseas, and the elevation of power over public service have corrupted our democracy. Going back further, dislodging American natives, enslaving Africans, and using abortion as birth control add to our communal confession.

 Consequently, our self-made Tower of Babel is crumbling.

As the 2020 election heats up, meditate on the story found in Genesis 11:1-9. Then confess our corporate sins—ones that are biased, selfish, and stiff-necked stubborn—”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

God isn’t Republican or Democrat! He is the God of All and His love extends past our differences. Most of all, He’s called us to love like He does—unconditionally! All of us need to confess our sins and pray for our country to commit to godly obedience.

To quote the great Jewish leader Joshua, “Observe them (God’s commandments) carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”

Deuteronomy 4:6

To Listen and Love

Guilty as charged, I am a word junkie. I enjoy looking up words and checking out their nuances and meanings. Today’s word is conviction. Maybe it’s because my husband and I have been binge watching the law series Suits on Amazon Prime. Or perhaps I’m curious about how people are convicted of their beliefs about God. Mesmerized I listened this past weekend when Mount Pleasant Christian Church’s senior pastor Chris Philbeck interviewed a panel of nonbelievers as to why they don’t believe in the God of the Bible.

Merriam Webster gives three meanings for conviction. The first one listed—“the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law”—appeals to my strong sense of justice and my love for law and order TV shows.

The second one is more generic: “a strong persuasion or belief; the state of being convinced.” People’s convictions drive their actions. This afternoon I finished reading Bill O’Reilly/Martin Dugard’s book Killing Kennedy. Even though I lived through November 22, 1963, my nine-year-old, fourth-grade self didn’t quite understand what was happening.

When Mrs. Noel came back from lunch, our class couldn’t grasp the gravity of why our President had been shot and why she cried all afternoon. Then I had no idea why someone would do that. After reading this book, I begin to understand Lee Harvey Oswald’s convictions and his assassin Jack Ruby’s contrary beliefs.

My takeaway? Erroneous convictions can cause a great deal of pain, suffering and needless tragedy.

Finally comes the 3a definition of conviction: “the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth.” Here is where we Christians sometimes dangerously park. Too often we forget that conviction cannot be forced upon someone, even if it’s based on truth.

After hearing the panel explain how Christians come across in their beliefs, I was convicted of not listening and loving enough. God gave us the freedom to either choose or reject him. Our God relationship is not an arranged marriage. It’s a union of choosing to love, with listening and loving being the best pathway in sharing our convictions about God.

“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. . .”

2 Timothy 2:24-25, NLT