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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Devotion for October 28, 2012

Devotional painting of the Tower of Babel, van Cleve
The Tower of Babel by Hendrik van Cleve, c. 1570



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer for the Morning

For the bird who sings outside my window,
For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says "good morning",
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,

Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To see them all and know that you are here.

Prayer for Peace

I  thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.

Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.



May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort me and help my brothers, both in this world and in the world which is to come.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Devotional stained glass of Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel, 16th century stained glass.

Psalm 106:1-3

Praise the Lord!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,
or declare all his praise?

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 11:1-9

The Tower of Babel

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar [Babylonia] 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 and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men 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. That is why it was called Babel — because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Notes on the Scripture

In Hebrew, the word "babel" sounds like the word for "confusion"; thus the passage says that Babel was named because it was the place where God confused the languages of the world. It is the Hebrew name for Babylon, which existed as a settlement before 2000 B.C. and, by 1700 B.C., was probably the largest city in the world. In the period when it was ruled by Nebuchadnezzer and his descendents (@ 600-450 B.C.), it again became the largest and one of the richest cities in the world. It was a city given to grand structures, including one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the great Hanging Gardens.

The story of the Tower of Babel would have made sense to anyone living in the Middle East. It was a great crossroads of trade, a meeting place for cultures with widely disparate languages, and was repeatedly conquered and reconquered by great empires.

An ancient Sumerian story, which is known only in fragments, speaks of the building of a great tower (ziggurat), although it would have been 100 miles to the south of Babylonia; this was originally Sumeria but later became part of Babylon; it was certainly, at the time, the greatest architectural center in the world, and many structures were built for heathen gods.

ziggurat of Etemenanki, Tower of Babel
The Ziggurat of Etemenanki

There was also a great tower built in ancient Babylonia proper, known as the Etemenanki (Sumerian "temple of the foundation of heaven and earth") . Nebuchadnezzar wrote that the original tower had been built in antiquity: "A former king built the Temple of the Seven Lights of the Earth, but he did not complete its head. Since a remote time, people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words. Since that time earthquakes and lightning had dispersed its sun-dried clay; the bricks of the casing had split, and the earth of the interior had been scattered in heaps."

At any rate, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship of God, but for the glory of man. It was temple dedicated to sinful pride. Even the materials used were manmade, a locally invented brick rather than stone. So God stopped them by giving them different languages and scattering them around in tribes, and the tower was abandoned.

endless knot

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Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

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