Today’s reading: Gen 10:1–11:32, Matt 9:1–38, Eccles 2:18–26
Today’s theme: The origin of language
It is important to remember that our theology (the understanding of God), anthropology (the understanding of man and his origin) and ecology (understanding of the world including its origin and how we care for it today) is derived from the Bible and not man’s foolish ideas on how it all began. With that in mind our focus today is the origin of all human language. We once had just one language until God’s supernatural intervention at the tower of Babel. We also look at issues regarding racism today.
“Black” people are not specially cursed
The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. Genesis 10:6 (ESV)
Cush, Egypt and Put were not cursed, only Canaan was. So let’s be clear, the African nations were not singled out to be especially cursed! This lie was perpetuated to justify the slave trade in modern times and has been used for centuries by different religions to divide, oppress and disfigure human beings made in God’s image based on their skin colour.
We are not defined by skin colour
These are the sons of Shem, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations. Genesis 10:31 (ESV)
Notice The Bible distinguishes people by their language, clan, land and nation. It does not distinguish people by the colour of their skin! This is a fairly recent invention created to divide people in a way that God has never intended. Defining someone by the colour of their skin is very simplistic and quite disrespectful to the individual when compared to the richness with which people are defined in The Bible.
The origin of different tongues (languages)
Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:9 (ESV)
This is where all languages originally came from although languages have changed and developed over time.
Live life on mission
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12–13 (ESV)
Jesus teaches us that the mission of salvation cannot be achieved by us staying in “respectable company”. We need to go out into all the world and share the good news with everyone. God’s priority is self-sacrificing love rather than man-made ritual and protocol.
The new way
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16–17 (ESV)
The new way that Jesus brings cannot be contained by man made traditions and religious observances. We now relate to God in terms of a responsive, living relationship and not a religion of unfulfilled forms and shadows. Jesus has fulfilled the law and as a result, we now live our lives in the new order that He has made through the cross.
Pray for and be labourers
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37–38 (ESV)
This is still true and we should still pray this with all our hearts and be willing to be the labourers that are sent out.
Work in faith
For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26 (ESV)
All our work will only truly be of benefit to us if we put our faith in God which pleases Him. Outside of this, work can become like a slave master.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014
A great resource page about the Tower of Babel from Answers in Genesis
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