For the week of November 4, 2000 / 6 Heshvan 5761
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 6:9 - 11:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1 - 55:5

The Promise: Part 2

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 (Bereshit / Genesis 11:6).

The Summer Olympics recently occurred in Sydney, Australia. There are few events which capture the world's attention in the way the Olympics do. Literally billions of viewers planet wide watched the approximately 200 competing nations.

One of the reasons why I believe the Olympics attract so much attention is that no other event sees this many countries coming together. In the name of sport, people of almost every nationality and language lay aside their differences and peacefully engage one another.

How it warms our hearts to see the world this way. The Olympics help us to overcome our differences and unite us. For a couple of weeks every few years we feel like we are living united, sharing a kind of oneness.

Now this short-term experience really doesn't solve the world's many great problems. Strife and violence continues around the globe. But the Olympics highlight our desire for peace and unity.

This is what the people of ancient Babel wanted. This is why they wanted to build a city and a tower. They desired security and unity.

There is nothing wrong with this deep seated desire. The problem was that they sought to do this by focusing on themselves and their own ability rather than upon God.

Last week we looked at God's promise to eradicate evil in the world. It is this same evil that prevents us from being truly unified. Every plan of ours to come together seems to result in our finding ourselves drifting further and further apart. As we establish our own agendas to overcome our differences, we fail time and time again.

This is what happened at Babel. If God would have allowed our ancient ancestors to succeed, our evil human nature would have destroyed us. It was necessary for God to scatter the human family until the right time when we would experience true unity with one another.

God will fulfill his promise, the enfolding of which begins in next week's portion.

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