3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ge 11:3–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
The story of the Tower of Babel is a perplexing one for a lot of people. God comes down from Heaven and, seeing the people building their tower, he disrupts them and disperses them. He confuses them because if they were successful “nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” (Gen 11:6)
Some say that is a jealous and vain God. But look again at what the people were trying to do. They wanted to make a name for themselves and confine themselves forever to one location.
Were they to do what they set out to do, they would think that they were the creators. God already had to wipe out humanity once for forgetting him and setting themselves up as their own gods. Here, in their confusion, they must draw to him again.
The people decided they could do the impossible and do it without God. He reminds them that he is real and that he is the Creator, not them. Setting ourselves up to be our own god destines us to failure. Why? We see it there in the scripture.
“Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
When we become a god to ourselves, we cling to the things we have created. We hold on demanding those things we’ve created not slip away. And often, we hold on so tightly to the things over which we have placed ourselves as gods, we never let go to hold on to something new.
In our busy lives, we are often very prideful of the things we have done. There is nothing wrong with being proud of our accomplishments, but pride untempered by the fact that God enabled us brings about sinfulness. We must rely on God. Trust God to build our towers. Trust God to make our lives great.
Relying on ourselves and not God, or at least thinking it is all us and God plays no role, ends badly.
One parting thought. Notice that they did not want to spread across the earth. God wants us to do that. Christ said to “Go forth.” We are to be a light in the world, not hiding behind high walls or safely in our communities we have constructed for ourselves. God does not want us to play God, and he also does not want us to play it safe. We are to go out into the world and into culture and draw others to the Lord, knowing it is him working through us and not us and our own talents.
Through God all things are possible. Don’t put the burden of building the tower on yourself. Leave it to God and let Him do great things through you.