All Nations and Babel
Diana Medlin recently made a trip to Ukraine to bring her 82-year-old parents home to North Carolina with her. Medlin shares that as the war intensified, she became more convinced that she should take action. “When it was really dangerous, I thought ‘I need to do something’,” Medlin said. As one can imagine, it was no easy task trying to get elderly travelers out of Ukraine and into the United States.
Medlin was able to obtain donated airline miles to make the journey possible. While she traveled to Poland and then on to Ukraine, her parents traveled by van to meet her. While in Lviv, with missiles near, she remained firm that she was making the right decision. This trip was quite an undertaking and Diane expresses gratitude to all who made it possible.
Medlin’s story is one of dedication to parents. She was willing to take risks to bring them to her home.
Similarly, our stories for this week include lessons of showing respect and concern for a parent.
The first parent-child relationship we study is in the family of Noah. Ham showed no regard for the respect of his father when he went to his brothers and shared the story of Noah’s drunkenness. Shem and Japheth’s approach to the situation took an opposite direction when they backed into the tent to cover their father’s nakedness.
While this story may seem to be completely different from that of The Tower of Babel, there may be more common elements as we study a bit deeper.
The builders of the Tower of Babel wanted to insulate themselves from the possibilities of danger. In doing so, they disregarded two things. First of all, they ignored God’s direction to replenish the earth, to spread out. Secondly, they took matters into their own hands to make sure that whether or not God followed through on the promise that another flood would not destroy the earth, they would be ready. In their minds, they would never again be vulnerable. They had stopped trusting in God, and disrespectfully disregarded the promises made to them by their loving Heavenly Parent.
Diana Medlin showed respect and risk in what she did for her parents. Shem and Japheth did the same. As we study this week’s Scripture texts, we are reminded that our responsibility as God’s children is to live a life of love by showing respect and love for others, and by trusting in God and following the risks God asks us to take.
Connecting: While we purchase insurance for health, cars, and homes, and use antivirus programs for our electronics, sometimes we might go beyond trying to insulate ourselves. Have you ever tried to protect yourself from something only to find out that your efforts were ineffective? If you are comfortable, share your experience.
Sharing: The stories found in Genesis 9:18-11:9 go deep into how God would like for us to treat others. What are some of the principles we can realize as we ponder the story?
- God’s command to honor parents means that we show respect even when it may appear that it is not warranted
- While it is normal and even advisable to take precautions to protect one’s property and person, we must also remember God sometimes asks that the children of God do what may seem unexpected in the way we treat others
- It is not appropriate to share the embarrassing behavior of others, and instead we should work to protect their dignity
- The curse of Cain was meant specifically for Cain and cannot be applied to individuals today
- Trusting God and being merciful to others are at the heart of these stories
Applying: With a war in Ukraine, inflation in the economy, and talk of an upcoming recession, how can you be encouraging to others? Think of how you might encourage friends and family in the face of these news headlines. Suggestions might include making cards of gratitude with Bible texts or starting an electronic family/friends Bible encouragement of the day blog.