One Nation Under God
Can you imagine life on earth where every cultural barrier gave way to global unity?
Neither can I.
Nevertheless, it does seem like man has maintained an unwavering resolve to realize this dream. There was a time, though, when that beloved dream was our ancestors’ reality. It was a time when one building defined a generation.
“Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’” (Genesis 11:1–4 NAS95)
One nation. One location. One language. And with all this oneness, these ancient people committed themselves to an impressive architectural endeavor. They were industrious. They were resourceful. They were driven, motivated self-starters. Not only were they workers concerned with progress in the present, they had their sights set on preservation and posterity. They wanted to make something of themselves and produce something meaningful that would stand the test of time.
If this sounds familiar, it shouldn’t surprise you; today, we would call these people entrepreneurs. They are the prototype success story rooted in human ingenuity. Honestly, if this was all we knew about these people, we might even look to them as examples of the great things man can accomplish when he works together. There was just one problem.
When God first created man and woman, He gave them a very clear commandment. “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’” (Genesis 1:28 NAS95)
And then there was that time God spoke to Noah. “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’” And again, “‘As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.’” (Genesis 9:1, 7 NAS95)
Did you notice? Obedient man being “scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” was exactly what God expected! The sole objective of this united people stood in complete opposition of God’s direct and consistent command. These pioneers of industry were also people of insolence. However resourceful, this united nation was
ultimately rebellious. With all that they had at their fingertips, this group used every ounce of their collective effort to reject God.
Nothing has changed.
The rallying cry still sounds for man to reach out to fellow man, that by our combined efforts we might create something truly transcendent. Man wants a name, to be immortalized for generations; and prevailing ideologies spanning back before America’s conception demonstrate that man’s approach has changed very little, if at all.
Modernism taught that man could find all the answers he needed on his own.
Postmodernism teaches that those answers amount to everyone doing what feels right to them. Secular humanism teaches that the highest call of mankind is to amass the most good (read “pleasure”) for the greatest number of people. And more than anything, the contemporary leaders exemplifying the spirits of these ages swear by one
thing: God does not belong in the picture.
God the Creator, and all that He has explicitly commanded, is shunned in man’s effort to make a name for himself. Holy living takes a backseat to human progression. Nevertheless, rebellious man will fail, just as the nation failed in Shinar.
“The LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:8–9 NAS95)
Unity for unity’s sake is not a noble cause when it defies the majesty of God; and in a moment, God clearly made that point by crippling this united nation and thwarting its every goal. At the end of the day, man is still man and God is still God. Man’s will cannot supersede God’s, and God’s will is always accomplished. Consequently, fighting
against the Creator of heaven and earth is the very definition of futile. Unfortunately, man will continue to try as long as God lets this world stand. Still, no matter how united man may be—and it is doubtful that he will ever achieve the level of unity possessed
by the settlers in Shinar—his unity is wasted if his united front is against the Lord.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God.” (1 Peter 2:9–10 NAS95)
If you’re a part of the body of Christ, you’re a part of the one and only united nation under God that has ever truly existed. This is because a prerequisite to being a part of this nation is actually being under God. There is no authentic citizen of God’s kingdom
who does not submit to the Lord. And in submitting to the Lord, we do not seek to make a name for ourselves through our accomplishments. Instead, we lift up His name while we tell anyone who will listen about all that He has accomplished. It is in this nation that we all “speak the same thing” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV) without “divisions…united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV). And it is this nation whose devotion will be rewarded by an eternal home in the presence of God Himself.
One nation under God. This, my friends, is the unity that matters!
BJ Young (2018-12-02)