Daily Devotion for November 14, 2010
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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
The Tower of Babel
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. 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
Whether you are a true fundamentalist, and believe that every word of the Bible is literally true, or an extreme interpretationist, who believes that the Bible is largely myth and metaphor (or somewhere in-between these two extremes), in this case, there is a fair amount of evidence that a tower like the Tower of Babel existed and that it matched the description given in Genesis. Today, Babylonia is only a pile of broken mud-brick buildings and debris. The site is located in modern-day Iraq, in Mesotopamia — the fertile plain of land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers where one of the earliest known civilizations sprouted around 3500 BC.
One of the great civilizations that lived in Mesopotamia was Babylonia. Its monumental city, one of the great cities of the ancient world, was Babylon. Like many cities of the time, it contained a "ziggurat", a temple in the shape of a stepped pyramid, honoring a particular god. These were constructed as stated in Genesis, using mud bricks, because the area has very little usable stone. These bricks were made of mud mixed with straw and dried in the sun. They were held together with bitumen, which is found in Iran and was widely imported to Mesopotamia for use as mortar. Even today, bitumen is sometimes called tar, because it is a black smelly viscous liquid when warmed, but hardens as it cools. (Technically, tar is a distillate from coal whereas bitumen is a naturally-occuring form of petroleum.
Archaeologists have found, in the ruins of Bablylon, a square earthen embankment 300 feet square, most likely the foundation of an enormous ziggurat dedicated to the Babylonian god Marduk. A reasonable estimate is that the tower would have stood about 300 feet high. As a point of comparison, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, which many people consider to be the first skyscraper, stood 138 feet in height.