Nimrod and Globalism at Shinar

In a way, the revolt that occurred after the ancient biblical flood seems very contemporary.

God instructed Noah’s descendants, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). But a powerful king named Nimrod arose whose kingdom, established on the plains of Shinar, vastly extended outward from there (10:8–12). The people (either willingly or, more likely, by coercion) embraced a devilishly simple plan under his leadership. Rather than scatter over the earth and eventually form individual city-states and nation-states, they would consolidate. They already shared a common language (11:1). So they used the technology of their day to construct a tower “whose top,” they declared, “is in [will reach] the heavens,” thus creating for themselves “a name” and a prideful identity, refusing to “be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth,” as God had commanded (v. 4).

Imagine the political spin Nimrod and his advisors might have used to launch this new enterprise. “Why risk tribal warfare among differing groups? With a single unified kingdom, we can achieve universal peace! Why create differing religious viewpoints? With one unified kingdom, we will eradicate the possibility of religious disputes! With a single language, we can create a global economy and prosperity for all!”

But there was one titanic problem: the plan directly disobeyed God. In the end, it smacked of the arrogance of power. God says in His Word that, if allowed to continue, Nimrod would have achieved a global kingdom with absolute political and social control over the entire planet: “Nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (v. 6).

God’s sovereign plan for the world will not be frustrated by the arrogance of a power-hungry despot or a defiant people. So God confused the languages. As a result, He “scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city” (v. 8). Thus the prospect of a single titular leader prematurely heading up a unified global community was halted.

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