Many Towers of Babel Still Exist

BELIEVE ME, after 40 years of ministry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve met a lot of persons who don’t have to wait to die before they go to Hell. They are living in Hell now. Because of pride, ego, selfishness, and greed. Evil has taken over their life. And they are so miserable. They seem no longer human.

I’ve seen this Hell in marriages, families, organizations, churches, businesses, and governments.

They become Towers of Babel.

Yet I’ve also seen miracles happen—where God
shows up.

In one moment of grace, some of these persons get fed up of Hell and decide to let go. They stop taking matters into their hands, and surrender everything in God’s hands. They stop thinking of themselves and start serving others. Oh, it’s so beautiful to see this.

Welcome to Towers and Thistles, Talk 3 of our Feast series Ascend. Today’s Feast is explosive. Be blown away by grace!

May your dreams come true,

WELCOME to our third installment of our series, Ascend.

Talk 3 is Towers and Thistles.

Last week, we talked about Noah’s Ark.

Today, we talk about two familiar stories: 1) the Tower of Babel; and 2) God asking Abraham to offer Isaac on top of Mt. Moriah.

If you read what happened after Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood, you realize that evil was not washed away by the flood; because evil remained in the human heart.

That’s why the Tower of Babel happened…

Bad Babel

Let’s read: As the people migrated to the east, they found
a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.

Before I continue reading, I need to mention something very important. If you say the word “Babylon” to a typical Jew who lived in 500 BC, he’ll start frothing in the mouth and turn red with rage. Because Babylon represented everything that was evil. Remember that Genesis was written during the Babylonian captivity. It was Babylon that conquered Jerusalem, flattened the city, destroyed the temple, and enslaved its people.

Let’s continue… 3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region, bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” (Genesis 11:2-4 NLT, emphasis mine)

The first time I heard the phrase “Tower of Babel”, I had the images of the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa in my mind.

Not true. Most likely, the Genesis writer was referring to something like the photo below.

This is an artist’s rendition of Etemenaki, a temple in Babylon dedicated to the god Marduk, that existed when Genesis was written.

Question: Does it remind you of something?

Hint: What’s the theme of our entire series, Ascend?

Doesn’t this look like a mountain?

The Tower Is a Man-Made Mountain

Why did God not like Babel?

The story says the Tower was abandoned as the people scattered.

Here’s the key truth: Babel was man’s attempt to create his own cosmic mountain.

It was man’s attempt to create his own Eden.

Because in Babel, humans wanted to be their own gods.

Here’s the irony: God already made us like Him. God already made us to be His Royal Representatives, His Kings and Queens.

And yet here was man still wanting to build his own empire.

Isn’t this our core problem? We look for what we already have.

Why? We’re blind. We don’t see what God has given to us.

Friend, are you looking for happiness?

I’ve got news for you: Everything you need to be happy is already within you. That’s why the Psalmist said, The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.
(Psalm 23:1 NKJV)

Declare this with me: “God has given me everything I need.”

Today, I want to preach the message, “God will show up.”

Let me tell you a story.

One day, a lecturer was giving a seminar to a company of 200 employees.

At the end of the seminar, he announced, “Let’s have a fun activity!”

His team gave each person a balloon and a marker.

“Write your name on the balloon,” he said, “and when you’re done, we’ll get the balloon back.”

His team collected the balloons and placed them all in another room.

He then said, “Okay, listen up. I’m going to give you five minutes— only. Go to that room and find your balloon.”

The 200 employees stood up, rushed to that room, and it was pandemonium— men and women frantically grabbing balloons, looking for their names, tossing them away, grabbing another one…

It was a picture of hell. It was the picture of the Tower of Babel.

When the five minutes were up, the speaker blew a whistle. Very few found their balloon.

He called them back to their seats in the main room and said, “Frustrating, isn’t it? Well, we’re going to do it again. But with a simple little tweak. I want you to go back to that room, pick the first balloon you see, read the name, and return that balloon to its owner.

The group entered the room again. Pandemonium broke loose again, but it was the happy kind. You could hear people shouting different names, like, “Where’s Sylvia?” and “Where’s Mario?” and “Where’s Karl?” and someone says, “Sylvia is over there!” and “Mario is at the back!” and “I’m here!” and “Thank you so much!”

In five minutes, the balloons were back to their owners.

When his audience settled down, the lecturer said, “Here’s the big lesson. When you try to search for your own happiness, you won’t find it. But if you try to help
others find their happiness, you will too.”

As a preacher, I would like to add a spiritual message: When people serve others and forget themselves, God shows up. God provides all that they need. The multiplication of bread and fish happens.

Babel Is The Anti-Eden

The first time the 200 employees were trying to get their own balloons, that was Babel.

Babel was the mountain of ego. Pride. Greed. Selfishness.

That’s why Babel was the Anti-Eden

In Babel, everything flowed inward; But in Eden, everything flowed outward. Remember the streams of Eden? They poured down the mountain to water the whole earth.

God designed blessings to flow outward.

God designed YOU to flow outward!

He designed you to live a generous life.

Try it. Give without expecting anything in return. Let this be your fundamental orientation. Be free from the hypnosis of this transactional world. And you will experience real humanity.

You Are an Eden Stream

God never blesses someone for the sake of blessing someone; He blesses someone so that someone will bless another someone.

Today, God is telling you, “You’re my Eden stream.”

Say it with me, “I’m God’s Eden stream!”

Don’t Keep Your Blessings—Or Else!

A stream doesn’t hold the water it carries. If a stream holds the water, it’s not a stream, it’s a swamp.

A swamp is a stagnant body of water that is infested with bacteria and breeds disease-causing insects. It even can have crocodiles and alligators.

Friend, are you a stream or a swamp?

Say this with me: Blessings flow outward.

If you don’t follow the intrinsic design of a blessing, the blessing becomes a burden. Think of siblings who fight over money and property.

You become a swamp.

Believe me, after 40 years of ministry, I’ve met a lot of persons who have become like swamps of selfishness. Evil has taken over their life, they seem no longer human.

God didn’t like the Tower of Babel because it was going to bring Hell on Earth. Do you know of marriages, families, organizations, churches, businesses, and governments that are Towers of Babel? They’re mountains of ego, pride, greed, and selfishness? Me, me, and more of me.

Soon, they will scatter.

They’re swamps.

Which brings me to the next part of the story…

God Finds Gold in the Garbage

From this evil place of Babylon, God picks a guy named Abraham

From the garbage, God finds gold.

We don’t have time to go through the entire story of Abraham. But let me summarize it for you. God sent Him 10 tests. Many of these tests happened on mountaintops. He passed some but failed others.

And when he failed, he failed big-time.

Let me give you two of his horrific failures: 1)Abraham was such a coward— to save his own skin, he lied and placed his wife in grave danger; 2) When he felt God was delayed in answering his prayer, Abraham took matters into his own hands and impregnated his slave girl, only to abandon her—and their baby—to die in the desert. Mama Mia! Lord, have mercy. Abraham was not a nice fellow.

Yet God chose him.

God never gave up on him until he finally changed.

May I preach to you today? Perhaps like Abraham, you’ve made a lot of mistakes. You may think you’re garbage, but God specializes in finding gold
in the garbage. God will never give up on you.

Don’t Glorify Your Name

Remember how the Babel people were building their Tower to be famous? In another Bible version, the verse is translated, “so that we may make a name for ourselves… (v.4 NIV, emphasis mine)

Freeze that frame as we read what God told Abraham. Who was Abraham anyway? Abraham was a no-name guy.

God told him: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all
peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)

Did you see that?

The blessings are designed to flow outward.

God was creating His Eden streams again.

But let me get back to the “Name” thing.

Did you see the difference? The people of Babel wanted to make their name great. But God told Abraham, “I’ll do that for you.”

Babel people were looking for their own name written on their own balloons.

God said, “Don’t think about your name. Don’t think of your balloon. I’ll give that to you. Just serve others!”

As we move to the most important part of the Abraham story, I’ll be asking you 3 powerful questions…

Because in Test #10 of Abraham, his most important test, God asks him to offer his son Isaac to Him. And they climb up a mountain called Moriah.

On their way up, Isaac asks him, “Dad, we have the fire, we have the wood, but where is the sacrifice?”

Abraham answers, “God will provide.”

The literal Hebrew translation is, “God will show it.”

Which is connected to the meaning of Moriah: “The Mountain of Seeing”.

Here’s the Bo Sanchez translation: God will show up! God will show you He’s there. When you think He’s not there, He is. When you think He’s not listening, He is.

Let me ask you: Do you believe God will show up in your life?

Here’s the second question…

When Abraham was about to offer Isaac, an Angel stops him.

And Abraham passes the test. Why?

God wasn’t asking for Isaac’s life; God was asking for Abraham’s trust. Bottom line, he didn’t eat from the Tree of Knowing Good or Bad. Abraham did not decide what was good or bad— he let God decide. And that’s the kind of human God can work with.

Friend, can God work with you?

Final question…

Abraham passed where Babel failed.

In Babel, the people held onto their blessing for themselves.

In Moriah, Abraham gave away his greatest blessing—Isaac. He let go, expecting nothing in return. He became an Eden stream, not a Babel swamp. And when he did, the blessing multiplied. And Abraham became the father of many nations.

So, here’s my question: Will you hold on or will you let go?

Will you be transactional or relational?

Will you be selfish or selfless?

Conclusion: God Will Show Up!

From the thistles, Abraham sees a ram—the substitute for Isaac.

A thousand years later, King Solomon, on the same spot as Moriah, builds the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, where daily sacrifices were made as an incomplete substitute for the sins of the people.

And another thousand years later, just a few meters from that same spot, the Greatest Sacrifice in the history of the world was made.

God provided Jesus to become the substitute for us.

God showed up in Eden, Ararat, Moriah, and Calvary.

God will show up.


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