Isaiah 9.8-12 and Genesis 11.2-6 – Human Pride & Arrogance
Posted: 5 January 2011 in Genesis, Isaiah

The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together; The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

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 morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us 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 LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

It is clearly the height of folly to rebel against God, or to try and undo what he has accomplished, but such is the pride of the human heart that men will try and do it anyway. Men want to be God’s equal. In the Genesis story they try to accomplish it by building a tower with a stairway up into heaven. At best men don’t want to obey God, but negotiate with him. Some such idea lies at the root of the idea that salvation can be by works: The deal is that we will lead a good life, and God will repay his debt by granting us eternal life. But the reality is that God is always sovereign, and we are only here to serve his sovereign purposes.

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