Genesis 11:1-26; Matthew 5:1-12; Psalms 5:7-12; Proverbs 3:1-6
OT: “The whole earth had the same language and vocabulary… And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.” Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the humans were building. The Lord said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let’s go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth.” (Genesis 11:1, 4-9 CSB)
The key phrase in this passage of scripture is “Let us make a name for ourselves.” Relatively quickly after the flood, mankind went the way of their heart which is bent toward self-sufficiency instead of submission to the Lord. Instead of allowing the Lord to make them truly great, they decided to take matters into their own hands and make themselves great in their eyes. God isn’t opposed to human progress and ingenuity – for He created mankind to be creative and ingenious. What breaks His heart is when we choose to, over and over again, take the bait of Satan to reject God and worship ourselves. God isn’t an egomaniac. He just knows that He is the source of life and blessing and if you avoid Him, you head away from life and toward death. God frustrated humanity’s project out of concern for their wellbeing and to slow down their progression toward evil and death.
NT: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-12 CSB)
Jesus, in His “sermon on the mount” began to describe what it takes to live a life that God the Father will bless. His points ran quite contrary to conventional wisdom or the things that a contemporary life coach might say. Blessed are the poor in spirit instead of the self-reliant… blessed are those who truly morn instead of those who brush off pain and loss… blessed are those who are humble instead of those who are prideful and arrogant… blessed are those who chase after righteousness instead of whatever means meets their end… you get the picture. Many call God’s kingdom the “upside down kingdom.” That presupposes that the worlds way is right. I would say that the way that the world system is set up is upside down and backwards from what is truly right. Ultimately, the way to live a bless-able life is to humble yourself, submit to God’s will, and order your life according to His ways – all the while allowing yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit moment by moment, day by day.
Psalms: “But I enter your house by the abundance of your faithful love; I bow down toward your holy temple in reverential awe of you. Lord, lead me in your righteousness because of my adversaries; make your way straight before me. For there is nothing reliable in what they say; destruction is within them; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongues… But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May you shelter them, and may those who love your name boast about you. For you, Lord, bless the righteous one; you surround him with favor like a shield.” (Psalms 5:7-9, 11-12 CSB)
King David, the man whom God described as being after His heart, knew that the way to live a bless-able life was to reject the ways and advice of the ungodly, and humbly approach God in worship to receive His wisdom, understanding, and guidance.
Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 CSB)
We heard from Jesus – then we heard from King David… now we hear from King Solomon: How do you live a bless-able life? You trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. If you know Him (or acknowledge Him) in all of your ways, then He will bless your way by leading you on His way.