What happens if we ignore God?

The Bible contains commands that God expects us to obey. What happens if we ignore them? Will anything bad happen? Genesis 11 tells us about a time when mankind was ignoring one of God’s commands. God’s response to this illustrates what can happen when we ignore Him. Let’s start in Genesis 1 with the verses that tell us what the command was, then we will look at the disobedience and God’s response in Genesis 11. Notice the words fill and subdue in the following verses.

Gen. 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Gen. 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God very specifically commanded man to fill and subdue the earth. Both of these words imply that man should spread out and explore the whole earth. After the flood, God partially repeated this command. Notice the word fill.

Gen. 9:1 ¶ And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

Again, the concept of filling the earth means to spread out over the whole earth. Now read Genesis 11. Was man obeying God? Notice the word otherwise.

Gen. 11:1 ¶ Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.

Gen. 11:2 It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

Gen. 11:3 They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

Gen. 11:4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Map of the approximate location of ShinarThe word otherwise tells us that they were deliberately trying to stay together. They were trying to avoid spreading out over the whole earth to fill and subdue it. How did God respond to this? Notice the word scattered.

Gen. 11:5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

Gen. 11:6 The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.

Gen. 11:7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

Gen. 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

Gen. 11:9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

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Yahweh caused people to speak different languages so that they couldn’t understand each other. This caused everyone to spread out and scatter over the whole earth. Mankind was trying to disobey God, but ultimately God exercised His power and forced mankind to do what He wanted. Our inability to communicate with people who speak different languages is a result of mankind’s attempt at disobedience.

Are we as a society ignoring God? Are our churches ignoring any of God’s commands? Are you deliberately ignoring one of God’s commands? Have you considered the possibility that God may discipline us and force us to submit to His will? Consider the following statement from Jesus Himself.

Rev. 3:19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

Jesus made it very clear that He reproves and disciplines. If we are deliberately ignoring or disobeying one of God’s commands, we should be aware that God can and does exercise discipline. Just as Yahweh created many different languages and forced people to spread out over the earth; so too He can respond to our disobedience and force us to obey Him. Wouldn’t it be better to choose to submit to God now rather than wait until He disciplines us and forces us to submit?


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”