“And it came to pass that as they journeyed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of
the whole earth”….Gen 11:2-4
The Plain is Mostly Bad…We musnt build in it!!
God’s word rarely has anything good to say about the plain. Most biblical references to the plain are negative.
Jesus told the parable of the foolish man who built his house in the plain: Matt 7:26-27. Lot was commanded to “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain;” Gen 19:17
It is rarely God’s wish for His people to dwell in the plain, much less run their christian race by way of the plain like Ahimaaz. When God comes to have dealings with men in the plain, majority of the time it is usually for Judgement.
In most instances where sin will be committed & men will depart from God it usually begins with a ‘going down’, metaphorically denoting ‘descent from God’s presence into rebellion. Samson (Judges 14:1), Jonah (Jonah 1:3) are quick examples.
God’s preference for his people is always to leave the plain of lukewarmness and religion, and rather to ascend the mountain of revelation, intimacy & transfiguration. There are countless examples where He ‘calls up’ his servants not just to the physical mountain, but to the spiritual position which is higher than flesh.
Christian lives and churches that are built in the plain can rarely ever be pleasing to God. This is because of what the plain represents prophetically:
The plain is:-
The place where men are often consumed by the works of the flesh stipulated in Gal 5:19-21.Gen 13:10
The place of idolatry…Exo 32:1-8
The place where men fall into diverse temptations & sin because of the mixed multitude & what mingling with them causes Num 25:1-3
The place of Captivity. Gen 14:11-12
The place where living in God’s permissive will is preferred to His perfect will …2 Sam 18:23,
The place of spiritual death.
‘that as they Journeyed from the East’.
The East represents wisdom. In journeying from the East, they moved away not just from the geographical east, but from the wisdom of God. By so doing they were placing confidence & faith in their own ability, capacity and strength.
Anytime we move, act or plan our lives outside of God’s wisdom, pride is often at the root of it and will almost certainly end in some sort of fall from grace.
‘that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there’.
Whilst to God’s eye the plain is a bad place to be, Yet to the unregenerate man it is very pleasant to behold. Just ask brother Lot! The natural man has an affinity for ease and comfort which the plain abundantly offers. The spiritual man though lays aside every weight and ascends the mountain, carefully bracing the arduous climb of that narrow way, pressing upward toward the mark of the high calling.
Most ‘mega-churches’ built today often genuinely began in God’s will by men who were genuinely called as many are. Yet they never made it into God’s choice because they failed to persevere in the furnace of God’s affliction (yes there is such a thing..ref Isa 48:10) where those whom He calls are processed. Such men chose themselves just as Ahimaaz did.
When a man gets out of God’s furnace before the refining fire has had a chance to burn away inordinate ambition from his heart, such a man’s vision changes to how to build a megachurch that’s ‘Miles Wide but not an inch deep’ …A man who absconds from God’s refining process ever before the fire has a chance to deal with the lust for fame in his heart will soon begin plastering pictures of himself and his wife all over the place, advertently or inadvertently promoting self.
Anyone who escapes God’s cauldron before ‘Self’ is totally consumed out of his life will be quick to embrace titles, honorifics & tributes…not like Apostle Paul who considered himself a Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ 1st above all other considerations, who was privileged to be called into the office of the Apostle. Rom 1:1
“If the church uses carnal means to draw carnal men, It will be forced to continue and even grow in carnality in order to keep them”. …… Paul Washer
‘And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar’
Biblically stones refer to longevity, endurance & Truth. Whilst they were made by God, bricks on the other hand are man made and far less enduring of the element’s.
It’s very difficult to find stones in the plain, and so baked mud bricks become the ready substitute easily borrowed from the world.
Christian lives built in the plain always involve a fundamental swap of divine principles for more palatable doctrines. The ancient landmarks are shifted & are replaced by man made concept’s & interventions borrowed from the world we are supposed to change.
The ‘weightier matters’ of Repentance; of Dying to Self; of Taking up the cross; of Suffering for a time; of Persecution; are reduced to mere footnotes. Whilst the promise of having ‘Your Best Life Now’ become the central & ONLY theme of a new gospel replaced by the new god of self!
These churches in the plain promote a pernicious gospel which blatantly contrive to present ‘worshippers’ with a Christianity without Jesus. We worshipers ever so eager to receive the news which tickles our ears give ourselves over to the pursuit of lying vanities even at our own eternal expense….Jonah 2:3
And they said, Go to, let us build us
a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the from the
Brethren, with every new season we ought to be ascending in our spiritual relationship with God and departing further and further away from the world system and all its manifestations. We’re enjoined to ‘grow in grace and in the knowledge of our saviour and Lord Jesus Christ’
Just like LOT we were pulled out from eternal destruction and given grace to ascend the mountain; with a directive to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Unfortunately like Lot, a great majority of us have settled for the Zoar of ‘ordinary’ Christianity, very much at ease with the false belief we cannot be perfect so why borther striving for it?. Happy to sow our seed, give our offerings and pay our tithes..yet continually live under the yoke of masturbation, immorality, lust, fornication, adultery and worldliness. Convincing ourselves & being convinced by these false shepherds that God is merciful and would never demand more of us. Deriving our greatest pleasures and Joy not from God himself but from the pursuit of ethereal goals.
There is a flood of eternal Judgement and punishment just around the corner. Grace is soon to expire, we must lay hold on the grace we still have now to flee from the plain and all such churches that are built within the plain AND ascend the mountain high enough to avoid being swept away by the coming wrath of He who is a consuming fire.
May the Holy Spirit impress upon our hearts the need to grow strong in the Lord and in the Power of His might daily.