Around the world today, nations are populated by the descendants of the scattered people of Babel. In this episode, Pastor Lutzer walks us through the origin of the nations, the reason God scattered the people, and finally, we get a hint of God’s purpose for it all—the end to which all of history is marching, when every nation shall be gathered in His name.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us today as we continue our discussion of “God and the Nations” and be sure to join us next time because I’m going to be answering the question: did we elect the president of the United States or did God? After all, He rules among the kingdoms of the earth and gives them to whomever He wills. But that’s next time. Today, as we discuss the origin of the nations, we go to Genesis 11. The Bible says in verse one, that the whole earth had the same language and the same words. What that means is they all thought the same. A nation is a group of people that generally has a very common background, a common culture, and a common language. And so, all the earth was united and you know the rest of the story, don’t you? They said, “Let us build a tower that goes to heaven.”
Couple of comments, first of all, they say, “that we might make a name for ourselves.” Here, you have the beginning of human autonomy. We are going to live without God and we’re going to do this on our own. And then why this tower? Is it that they actually thought that they would reach the stars? Of course not. They knew that the stars were too far away. There’s no doubt that this became a shrine and astronomy, which is a wonderful science, turned into astrology. They were going to look at the Zodiac and they were going to be able to determine their future, they thought. Now, you know the rest of the story, God comes and He confuses their languages. Now, I think the way it worked was this, families probably stayed together. So this family began to speak one certain kind of language—a new language that other families didn’t understand, and there was a group of people then that would be going in this direction; there would be another group of people that would be going in a different direction because they were united by a common language.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in a position where you were not understood, because you were in a very strange and new culture and a new language? I’ll never forget in 1965, when I was a student at Dallas with some friends. We drove to Mexico City and then we visited my sister and brother-in-law, who were with Wycliffe Bible Translators, 265 miles south of Mexico City. Now, I had to come back by bus and when I was there in Mexico City, I was told this bus will take you all the way to Laredo. So I stayed on the bus, but we got at a certain point and everybody had to get off the bus—that was clear. And now what? I could not find anyone who could speak English to answer my question. It gave me some kind of a feeling as to what it was like to be in a culture where you could not be understood and where you, in turn, could not understand them. But I’ll never forget there was a man there behind the desk who wrote on a small piece of paper, “bus #9”—and I’ll never forget how I stood there and got on to bus number nine and it took me all the way to Laredo.
Now, from this about seventy different nations developed, and of course, then you have various dialects and so forth and what a history the human race has had. But this is where I want to go today. Do you realize that in the book of revelation, we have two marvelous passages—actually many marvelous passages, but I’m thinking of chapter five and chapter seven, where the Bible says that around the throne, there will be people of every language and I looked at it twice and read it to myself even this morning—every language and every nation, there’s going to be a remnant. I want to conclude today by reminding you that history is actually going somewhere. It’s not—“just one thing after another,” as Henry Ford is believed to have said. God has a plan and it’s marching toward that. But next time, answering the question: did we elect the president of the United States or did God? Join me and as for today, be encouraged, God has a plan. You just go with God.