Text: Gen 11:1-9; Prov 8:13; James 4:6,10
Key Verse: Genesis 11:6-7
The Lord said, “…Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (NIV)
Last week’s study focused on Noah, a righteous man, who obeyed God and built an ark to escape the tragic Flood. This week’s study relates to the story of another construction project-the Tower of Babel. But unlike the ark, the Tower was a self-serving and self-glorifying plan/project. Its builders, in their pride, didn’t want to honour God or follow His instructions.
Of course, it is a dangerous decision to ignore God, and few people would presume to do it deliberately.
And yet, in subtle ways, we put God off when we neglect personal time in His Word, reduce prayer to a pre-meal grace, or simply don’t apply to our lives what He has already shown us through the Word and prayer. As much as we may want to experience God’s perfect plan for our lives, it will be nearly impossible to discover it if we’re not taking time to listen to Him.
If it seems that you haven’t been hearing from God as clearly as you would like, take a personal retreat. Get away to a quiet place for even a brief time and do nothing but sit in His presence, open your mind and your Bible, and let Him do the talking. Ask God to search your heart and show you what He sees. Allow Him to replace any misguided motivations with godly humility so that He gets the glory, not you. Then, take immediate action on what He shows you during this time.
The Basic Message: Explain to students…
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Pride keeps people from listening to God.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Trying to do things our own way leads to failure and confusion.
HOW DO I LIVE IT?
Ask God to remove pride from your life, and commit to discovering and following His plans.
Activity Option: TOWERING LANDMARKS
Display pictures of famous towers or buildings from around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Empire State Building, and NECOM House. (You should be able to locate pictures on the Internet.) Quiz students to see how many of these famous landmarks they can correctly identify.
Guide: Explain that today’s study is about a tower-building project that came to an abrupt halt because it was situated on a foundation of human pride. People often value, celebrate, and pursue things that will not last. Even structures that remain standing for centuries will someday crumble. In the end, only God’s truth will remain. The things we build into our lives will make an eternal difference only if we listen to God and follow His instruction.
Study Overview: Explain that today’s study considers…
• How the people of Babel pridefully rebelled against God.
• How God confused the language of the world.
• Why we must listen to God rather than doing things our own way.
Inform and Discuss
a).Monument of Pride
1. Read or ask a volunteer to read Gen 11:1-4.Why did the people want to build a city and tower? Do you think that the people’s reasons were right or wrong? Why? [Hint: In Genesis 9:1, God had given a command to fill the earth. But the people were ignoring God’s words in favour of banding together to “make a name” for themselves. Instead of being concerned about obeying God and exalting His name, their pride led them to promote their own interest.
2. Ask students to suggest some ways in which teens sometimes try to “make a name” for themselves (e.g., through popularity, money, possessions, relationships, activities, abilities, rebellion, etc.
Guide: Explain that it’s natural to desire success and the admiration of others. But these aren’t the most important things in life. When we want things more than we want a relationship with God, they become monuments of pride-like the Tower of Babel. Ultimately, such things lead to spiritual catastrophe. Thankfully, we don’t have to dismantle these “monuments” on our own. As we draw closer to Jesus, He will begin to change our desires. We’ll start looking for ways to bring Him honour, instead of wasting our energy on things that won’t last.
3. Read or ask a volunteer to read James 4:6,10. Why would God oppose the proud? How and why can pride be destructive?
4. What does it mean to humble yourself before the Lord? How might He “lift you up” if you do so? (Hint: To ‘be humble before God means to recognize your position in relation to His and to acknowledge your total dependence on Him for strength and guidance. When you do this, God will honour you with the help you need and more-the ability to succeed in accomplishing His highest purposes for your life.
Guide: Explain that prideful people often refuse to hear God’s Word because they don’t want to acknowledge their need for guidance and discipline. God opposes such people. Their prideful pursuits will amount to nothing because they have rejected the One who can truly bring purpose and meaning to their lives. But God gives us grace when we confess our sins and submit our lives to Him. James 4:10 says He will “lift” the humble, providing the help we need to accomplish great things for His glory.
b). Inspection Time
Guide: Explain that God inspected the structures that the people of Babel were building(Gen 11:5).He sees everything we do as well-both the good and the bad. More importantly, He sees our hearts and examines the motives behind our actions. We may not be able to detect every hidden flaw or wrong motivation, but God can.
1. Read or ask a volunteer to read Gen 11:6-9. What similarities do you see between what the people said in verse 4 and what God said in verse 7?
Hint: God used the same words the people had used: “Come, let us…This may have been used to draw attention to the difference between God’s plan and the people’s plan.
2. Whose plan failed? Whose plan triumphed? What can we learn from this?[Hint: The people’s plan failed, but God’s plan worked flawlessly. If we want to succeed in God’s kingdom, we must first humble ourselves and determine to take directions from Him. Only when our plans line up with God’s plans is victory assured.
3. Read or ask a volunteer to read Prov 8:13. How do people usually act toward things they hate? What do you think it means to hate evil?
Hint: People usually avoid and resist things they hate. Those who hate evil will do everything possible to avoid sin and temptation. They won’t regard sinful behaviours as entertaining, interesting, or fun.
What do pride and arrogance have to do with evil?
Hint: Pride leads to rebellion against God. When we stop paying attention to God’s instructions and start believing we can get along without Him, we risk repeating the mistakes of Adam, Eve, Cain, and the people of Babel. By denying God’s rightful place in our lives, pride opens the door to every kind of sin.
Involve Them: Ask students to name some questions that teens often have concerning their futures. Which tertiary institution will I be admitted into? Who will I marry? What will I become? What should my priorities be? List their suggestions on a board. Then discuss the following questions: Why is it important to listen to God before making these decisions? [Hint: Some of these decisions can’t be undone, so it’s important to consult God first. He has ultimate plan for every person’s life. Maintaining a relationship with Him is the only way to discover that plan.
What happens when people refuse to listen to God?
Hint: They miss out on God’s blessings; they make mistakes; and they risk eternal separation from God.] How can you keep pride from getting in the way of your relationship with God? [Guide: Encourage teens to trust God for ability and guidance and to give Him glory for every good thing in their lives. Point out that pride often comes when we stop spending time in God’s presence and lose sight of our total dependence on Him.
Guide: Explain that there is nothing wrong with feeling confident in your abilities or experiencing a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. But we must acknowledge that everything we have comes from God. We make serious mistake when we refuse to include Him in our lives.
Inspire Them: Remind students THE BASIC MESSAGE of this study (pg26).even as you explain WHAT the Big Idea behind the study is; WHY it matters; and HOW we can live the lesson captured in this study.
Ministry Activity: Have students bow their heads and prayerfully consider whether there is some part of their lives that they haven’t yet surrendered to God. Encourage them to seek forgiveness for the times they’ve failed to listen to God and tried to do things their own way, Move around the room and take time to pray with each student, asking God to accomplish His will in that student’s life.
Invitation Option: You may have students who have never accepted Jesus as their Saviour. Provide an opportunity for them to do so al this time. Explain that the first step in discovering God’s will is offering Him your life and accepting His forgiveness. Pray with any students who respond.
Conclude the study by challenging student to set aside time to come into God’s presence each day and listen to what He has to say. (For guidance, see the Prayer Calendar below
Teacher Hint: Ask Yourself…
1. Can students explain how people of Babel sinned?
2. Do they understand how pride can damage a Christian’s relationship with God?
3. Have they been offered an opportunity to seek God’s forgiveness for any sins of pride they may have committed?
Daily Dew Drops
Mon: He Is Near – Psalm 145:18
Tue: When Pride Comes – Prov 11:22
Wed: Heart Stuff – 1 Sam 16:7
Thu: If You Must Boast – 2 Cor 10:17-18
Fri: Made by Satan – 1 John 2:16
Sat: Trust Not in Uncertain Riches – 1 Tim 6:17-19