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God's Five "I Wills"


In my last article I spoke of the five "I wills" proudly proclaimed by satan (Isaiah 14:12 to 14).  I said that man has bought into these "I wills" as seen in the "religion of self."  Did you know that God has His five "I wills too?  Here's the story of God's five "I wills.      

In Genesis 11 we see men building a city, and a tower that they hoped would reach to the heavens.  As a child in Sunday school I was taught that these men were building a tower that would reach up to God in heaven.  We were told that God wasn't very happy with this tower.  He put mankind on earth, and on earth He wanted them to stay.  If I recall my Sunday school teaching correctly, then what I was taught was wrong.


In Genesis 11:4 the NIV says that man wanted to build a tower that would "reach to the heavens."  Note the plural word "heavens," not the singular word "heaven", as in the place where God is.  The tower was built to rise into the skies, not heaven.  I think the men of Babel were smart enough to know that they couldn't reach heaven. That being said, in a less literal sense, they did want to reach into heaven to usurp God's.  


I don't think God's biggest problem was with the tower.  If the tower was His main problem, He must be very frustrated when He gazes across our skyline today.  No, there was a more fundamental issue that disturbed Him.   


The reason why these men wanted to build the tower, and the reason why God was so upset, was a matter of self indulgence on the part of the builders.  These men wanted to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4).    The almighty "I" and the "religion of self" was rising again, and that disturbed God.


It's no coincidence that the event of Genesis 12 comes right after the events of Genesis 11.  In chapter 11 we see mankind attempting to build a distinct community of people that would make a name for himself.  In chapter 12 we see God implementing plans to build His distinct community of people that would make a name for Himself.  I think God wanted man to see what a distinct people should look like, and it had nothing to do with making a name for mankind.   


The Tower of Babel incident was just another example of our support for Lucifer's religion of self with it's "I wills". God wouldn't let that incident pass.  He set in place His community of distinct people with the proclamation of His five "I wills".  Genesis 12:2 and 3 says, "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (NIV)" 


Did you count them?  There are five "I wills".  Lucifer's "I wills" are all about Lucifer.  When we adopt Lucifer's "I wills" they're all about us.  God's "I wills" are all about God, but His "I wills" aren't selfish. If you look closely at the verse above, you will see that God's "I wills" are meant to bless us, not Him.         


I understand God's "I wills", and how they relate to Israel in this passage.  I'd like to comment on that, but I won't here.  My point is this.  God said that He'd make His own community of distinct people, He'd bless them, He'd curse the enemies of His people, He'd make His people's name great, and He'd bless those who bless His people.  It appears to me that if we understand God's "I wills", we don't have to bother with our own "I wills".       


Abram understood the message of God's five "I wills".  Unlike Abram's contemporaries, he did not build a city for his own name's sake.  Hebrews 11:10 says that he was waiting for God to build His city, which reminds me of  Psalm 127:1.  It says, "unless the Lord builds the house, the  builder labours in vain."  Abram didn't take time to build his own community that would make his name great.  He waited for God to build His community.  That's where he wanted to live.  Abram didn't have to worry about making a name for himself. God did that as promised.  He became one of the most important men in human history. 


Church history is much like the history of God's people Israel .  At times we submit to God's "I wills," and at times we don't.  Over and over again history has shown that we as Christians have struggled with what Abram could trust God for.  We've been like the men of Babel, building lots of towers, or should I say steeples?  Like the Tower of Babel , our steeples often reflect more of us than Jesus, and in the process some of us have made quite a name for ourselves.


This community of distinct people belongs to Jesus.   He said "I will build this community (Mathew 16:18). I guess Jesus has His "I wills" too.  That sounds like the New Testament version of what God told Abram.  It's up to us what set of "I wills" we want to adhere to.  Will we say, "I will build", or will we let Jesus say, "I will build."  



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