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Genesis 11:1-8 and Revelation 21:1-4

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. (Genesis 11:1-8)

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:1-4)

 

In Luke 18 a rich religious man chooses his wealth over following Jesus. Jesus then says, “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this were astonished that a rich religious guy who donated to the poor etc. couldn’t enter God’s kingdom. And so they wondered if anyone could! Jesus replied, “What is impossible with people is possible with God.”

If you heard your doctor say to you that he needs to re-break one of your bones, how would you feel? He’s telling you that he needs to re-break your bone to get you well again! The main reason why re-breaking is sometimes necessary is that the bones can sometimes heal incorrectly and badly affect how you move. You mightn’t move as easily as you used to move. Also, it mightn’t look all that great. This is why lots of people have had bones re-broken and reset.

The story of Babel is like bones re-broken and reset. There’s nothing wrong with them building a city and a tower. A normal human thing to do. The problem is seen in their words, “…so that we may make a name for ourselves.” They want to build an enduring society that has no need for God and his ultimate standards of good and evil. So God ‘breaks’ their building and makes way for what he will begin to do through Abraham in Genesis chapter 12, leading ultimately to what God does for us in Jesus at the cross. The Bible ends in Revelation with humans in a great city, but it’s a city centred on Jesus. A city of forgiven people, filled with people for whom God has done the impossible at the cross. A city shaped by Jesus and his ultimate standards of good and evil.

Head: Can I see any ways God has ‘broken’ to ‘reset’ in my life?

Heart: Does my heart accept that God is like a good doctor with me and the world, sometimes ‘breaking’ to ‘reset’?

Hands: How can I cooperate today with God’s ‘reset’ of my life in Jesus? How can my life be shaped by Jesus’ mercy and his ultimate standards of good and evil?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you that you in love have sometimes ‘broken’ to ‘reset’ my life when I’ve wandered from you. I thank you for doing the impossible and bringing me into your kingdom by the power of the cross. I accept that you’re like a good doctor with me, sometimes ‘breaking’ me to ‘reset’ me for good. Please enable me to cooperate today with your ‘reset’ of my life in Jesus that will culminate in me being in that great City of God pictured at the end of the Bible. Please cause my life to be shaped by Jesus’ mercy and his ultimate standards of good and evil. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

A song to listen to: Jerusalem

Phil Strong

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