Humanity is always Rushing Things

It started in the very beginning. Adam and Eve wanted to rush being like God. The result was the Fall of Humanity, and death. It wasn’t that God didn’t want humanity to be like God. He did. It was that humanity wasn’t ready to be like God yet. That is always our story. We rush things.

These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.  Now the whole earth had one language and few words.  And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.  Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, 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 sons of men had built.  And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Genesis 10:32-11:9

Once again, we hear the story of humanity wanting to have what we are not ready to have. The Tower of Babel isn’t a story of God taking vengeance on humanity. It is the story of God slowing us down until we are ready for His gift.

“Behold they are one people.” These words from God make it sound like He didn’t want us to be unified. Wrong! “That they may be one just as We are one.” (John 17.22) If humanity had solidified unity before Christ had defeated death, we would be united in our death rather than life.

Thus says the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem!  Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”; therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘He who believes will not be in haste.’  And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”  Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it.  As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.  For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.  For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim, he will be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; to do his deed – strange is his deed! and to work his work – alien is his work!  Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts upon the whole land.

Isaiah 28:14-22

Death is the enemy, not humanity or God. God rescued humanity from eternal death by removing us from the Garden. He did the same at the Tower of Babel. Turn on the nightly news and you will see we are still trying to rush things.

Modern science is constantly rushing God. Countless dollars are spent trying to avoid death. Genes are studied not to understand humanity, but to avoid illness and death. Only God can defeat death. If we rush eternal life before we are ready, we will be eternal fallen.

What does all this have to do with prayer, fasting and almsgiving? Great Lent is about starting over and learning to focus on God rather than on us. The Church is reminding us, not just today, that we need to wait for God rather than think we can ‘do this’ on our own.

We always rush things, but God works “when the fullness of time had come.” (Galatians 4.4) Being removed from the Garden, the Flood, and today’s story about the Tower of Babel, all remind us of one thing. God wants us to wait until we are ready for what He has for us.

What better way to learn to wait, than through fasting? What better way to learn to be ready than prayer? What better way to learn to do it God’s way than to take care of His people? Let Great Lent ‘slow you down’ a bit and stop always trying to rush your salvation.

God knows what we need. He has been working with us, and not against us, from the very beginning. We just have to take a breath and learn to do it His way, in His timing.

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