Bricks for Stone

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“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 mortar” (Genesis 11:3).

Introduction

We are probably very familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel. It tells of how rebellious man tried to exalt himself to the clouds and how the God of Heaven scuppered his plans.

The background

After the Flood God told mankind to repopulate the earth by scattering around the world (Genesis 9), but in direct opposition they chose to build a fortified city in Shinar in Babylon, modern day Iraq (Genesis 11). We are introduced to a man named Nimrod, and since he lived around one hundred years after the Flood, it proves that God had patiently waited for man to obey His word. The name “Nimrod” literally means ‘he rebelled’, which in turn reveals that he was a bad man. Genesis 10:8-9 says, “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 1:10 states, “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth.” The Aramaic translation of this verse expounds the facts about Nimrod’s rebellion against God. “Nimrod began to be a mighty sinner, a murderer of the innocent, and a rebel before the Lord.” We can see then that Babel and its tower was an act of outright defiance against God.

The bricks

Nimrod chose to use bricks rather than stone to build the city and the tower. This might at first sight seem to be a innocuous act, but instead it was the beginning of man’s rejection of God’s word. It would have been easier to use forest timbers and rocks to build their dwellings, but they decided to put a great deal of effort into constructing the city. Everything was man-made rather than what God had provided in nature. They would not only be designing their own homes but also planning their own destiny, or so they thought. They could reach the stars all by themselves without the need of God and His word. The glory would go to Nimrod rather than the Lord. Sounds familiar does it not!

Behind this construction work was the notion that man could determine his own future and live by his own rules. A government of the people, by the people without the need of divine authority. They did not want God as their King, but they willingly allowed Nimrod to be their dictator. Do we see the philosophy of Communism beginning at such an early stage in world history? Is it not interesting that communist dictators, who tried to build their own empires, thought that they could wipe God off the scene! Every time man has attempted to carry out the same thing as Nimrod, God intervened to halt their work, and will continue to do so even when the last Nimrod (Antichrist) tries to govern the earth.

The believer

Society hates Christ, the Bible and the church. Almost all nations with their governments are attempting to live without the input of God. We live in a tolerant land that will not tolerate Biblical truth, but will at every instance seek to ridicule and persecute those who desire to follow the Lord. They champion alternative lifestyles and dismiss the need for righteousness. Humanism believes man is his own god and can define what is good and bad all by himself. That lie stretches all the way back to the Garden of Eden. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

The believer is not governed by public opinion or political correctness. The believer is not a dead brick of society’s labours but a living stone of God’s creation. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). It is easy to opt for the comfortable life that receives no opposition or persecution, but then if we befriend the world we make God our enemy. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). We are called to live according to God’s standards of living rather than the ever changing morality of the age. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

The believer’s city is not built by religious, political or humanistic methods, for we look “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). We are “not of the world” (John 17:6) so are not governed by the law’s of men. We must not allow ourselves to be moulded by others, instead the Holy Spirit will guide us until we reach the Eternal City. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). No matter what end time forces converge to rob us of godly assurance and shape us in ways contrary to God’s will, we must diligently resist them by “holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:16). Our house is built upon the unmovable foundation of God rather than the sinking sand of man’s rebellious endeavours (see Matthew 7:24-27).

Conclusion

Many Nimrods have attempted to complete the work of their father, but each one has failed. More will come along before the final one appears, “that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Thank God that we belong to a Kingdom not made with human hands, therefore it cannot fail. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).

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