Small Meanings–BIG Thoughts!
by Bill Byrnes
Illustrated by Rich Gowran

One of the many things I love about the Bible: There are  so many short passages, single  sentences , or even phrases  that give a prima facie meaning, but upon further  scrutiny develop big thoughts that can lead to even bigger conclusions. Let’s look at some of them. Genesis:11:1-9  This is the  story of the Tower of Babel. After the great flood, the sons of  Noah started repopulating the Earth. Everyone spoke the same language. Approximately 2,300 – 2,200 B.C. they settled in a plain of Babylonia. They decided to build a city and highlight it with a tower whose top “would reach unto heaven”. This way, they would be famous  and  no one would want to leave for other areas. God came down to see the tower. Here’s  the interesting part! Genesis:11:6 : “The Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they all have one language. As they begin this tower, now, nothing will  be  restrained from them which they  have  imagined  to do!’ ” With this, God confounded their languages so they couldn’t understand  each  other. The people  then  scattered  across the face of the earth and  started  the  repopulating process.

795px-Brueghel-tower-of-babel
The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)

This story is easy enough to understand and very short.  But, when we  start thinking and
asking the simple question “why”, our thoughts start blossoming! Why did God do it this way, why not just tell the people in a thundering voice that building the tower was forbidden–  destroy it with an intimidating force of some kind–then tell them to scatter? Certainly, that  would have worked! Was he really  posing a challenge to mankind–something on the order of– when you can  overcome  this you’re ready for the next step? Also,  thinking even bigger , what  was he saying regarding man’s readiness for technology and what he could accomplish when  he was ready? One last thought, with all its dire implications; what could  man  harm  by developing technology before he was “ready” for it? Doesn’t it make you wonder when you consider  that some of the  greatest  technological advancements  have occurred  for warfare? How about the effect of  industrialization on the environment? By asking these questions  I am NOT questioning God–blaspheming!  I find that the more questions I ask, the more it leads  me  back to appreciate how awesome God is, and how our loving Father tries to protect us from ourselves and  from the  temptations  of Satan. One fact is obvious: as you read the Bible (and other books on the history of man)– over the centuries – technology has been the only true  change. Man’s sinful nature has NOT changed! The  old saying is true: there is nothing new under the sun!
Let’s look at one more small passage:  Ephesians 1:13: “…when you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and after which you BELIEVED, you were SEALED with  the spirit of promise.” This  is certainly  short ,  and  it’s very possible that you could read past  It the first time  without realizing its real  impact. I know I did !
Sealed
Sealed and protected

Actually, this is a  a tremendous affirmation of God’s love for all of us!
Many Biblical scholars  agree that the use of the word “seal” indicates a finished
transaction, a “done-deal”, where we are owned by Christ. As we expand out thinking, once we truly accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and accept him as our Lord and Savior– we are OWNED by  him–NO OTHER FORCE (Satan or his World System) can claim us! This is a tremendous security blanket for believers! God knows we WILL continue to sin, but his seal, thru the Holy Spirit, will always act like a spiritual “beacon” that will lead us back to the “flock”. There is a caveat (isn’t there always!). This doesn’t mean we can say we believe, then go out and commit the same types of sins that we did before! No…no…NO! If we TRULY believe, our sinful desire should subside greatly. Any transgressions should not be as severe because our “seal” (the Holy Spirit) will enable us to see where we are headed and help us avoid total relapse!
Read this passage  in  Ephesians, and realize that this wondrous book you’re holding has
hundreds of such passages!  From time to time  I’ll bring you  more  of the  passages with  small meanings and big thoughts.  but the most important thing  is for YOU to read the Bible and hopefully – -find some of your own. I’d love  to hear about them — use the “comments” section!

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