Read the Story Here: Genesis 8, 9:1-17, 11:1-8
Freedom! I can imagine the relief Noah and his family felt as they walked down the exit ramp of the Ark after spending some 370 days on the water. When you breathe the fresh air of spring, just think of how good it was to have fresh air after spending a year on a boat with so many animals and seven other people. The first thing Noah and his family did upon leaving the ark was to build an altar and worship God for His provision and for sparing their lives. God loves a thankful heart, and His response to Noah is to promise He would never flood the entire earth again with water. As a symbol of this promise, He set a rainbow in the sky as confirmation (Genesis 9:12-17).
Keep in mind that Noah and his family were the only people on earth who were saved from the flood. God gave them grace and showed them mercy because they were they only ones who followed and obeyed God before the flood. Although they were followers of God, they were still sin cursed people who needed a Savior. They were good by human standards but not so much by God’s standards. God’s Words tells us there is no one who is good in themselves when compared to God’s righteousness (Romans 3:10-12). We’re all cursed by the sin nature we carry as descendants of Adam, and we all need a Savior to rescue us from our sins. Although Noah’s family came through the flood, we soon see that sin nature revealed in a big way.
After the sacrifice, God told Noah’s family to disperse and replenish the earth. So, in chapters 9-11 of Genesis, Noah’s descendants multiply into a great people, yet they have not dispersed as God told them to do. In Genesis chapter 11, the sin nature, still alive in human hearts, shows itself in man’s attempt to “make a name for [themselves]” (Genesis 11:4). Remember, God has told them to spread across the whole earth (Genesis 9:1), yet they were now attempting to build a great city and a tower that reaches to the skies—all to make a great name for themselves apart from God. God’s remedy for this was to “confuse their languages” (Genesis 11:7) so they could no longer communicate and work together forcing them to disperse and cover the whole earth as God had instructed them to do (Read the story here in Genesis 11).
Just as it is in our lives many times, their work was productive, and their plans were effective, but their motives were wrong. They wanted to reach immortality, but they attempted to do so in their own abilities. These people remind us of many people today who are attempting to work their way to heaven by doing good deeds and working hard to be righteous in their own good actions. Their plans to be good may help them be better people, and their methods of living righteous lives may help them feel better about themselves, but ultimately, they cannot live up to God’s standard of righteousness in their own strength (See Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7).
After God stops the building of the Tower of Babel, the people finally spread out and multiply, just as God told them to do in the first place. This dispersion fills the earth, fulfills God’s plan, and leads us into the rest of the Old Testament—the account of God’s chosen people of Israel.