November 10, 2009

Building for a Name

Genesis 11:1-9

From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Genesis 11:9


There’s nothing wrong with great cities and beautiful buildings. We receive wisdom from God to design our living spaces. But wise craftsmanship needs to be coupled with the knowledge that things in themselves do not last. We can count only on God for eternity.

Noah’s descendants wanted to make a name for themselves on the plain of Shinar. There, with their bricks and mortar, they would reach the heavens: “We shall be like gods! No one will destroy our unity. We’ll never leave this place we have built.” And the Lord came down and scattered them all over the earth.

Centuries later, God’s glory took up residence in the temple God had told Solomon to build, so that his people could live united in and by his presence. But when they converted the temple into a den of thieves, God abandoned it and scattered his people all over the earth. “Babel,” which means “confusion,” is God’s name for all who seek their own reputation, especially those who abuse the temple God has built.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ gathers living stones from among the scattered peoples on earth. With these he builds an indestructible spiritual house that carries his name: “I will build my church,” Jesus said (Matthew 16:18). “There is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Thank you, Lord, for building and maintaining the church of Jesus Christ. Like a living stone, shape me and mold me according to your will. In Jesus’ name alone, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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