Read: Genesis 11:1-9
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4
This is one of those stories that’d be easy to miss cause it shows up in the middle of one of those ‘who-begat-who’ lists that we might skip over. But when we consider this, it’s almost ironically appropriate to find this story in a who’s’ who list.
Everyone on earth at the time came together and found a place to settle. They had a plan, a focused goal and apparently an ambitious work ethic.
So why would God step in and redirect?
First, God had told the people to increase and fill the earth (Genesis 9). To spread out further than just their city. Instead they’ve decided to do all they can to not be spread out.
Second, the tower (which would have been a significant tourist hot spot — probably something that could’ve made the pyramids look puny) was a monument to themselves built by their power alone. They had an earthly focus with a goal of proclaiming their greatness all the way to heaven (ironically in the midst of “who’s who” lists). From God’s perspective, this is all backwards. He desires that we have a heavenly focus and bring it to earth to glorify Him.
So, He creatively steps in. Can you imagine your confusion if you were suddenly speaking only a language you’d never spoken before?! You’d be learning “your” language by listening to yourself. Talk about talking to yourself!
You know, we may not be in our backyards making bricks out of straw and mud and building personal monuments, but we do the same in our own ways. We seek to make a name for ourselves by our own effort. We begin with the stuff of earth to try to reach heaven. We put our security and identity in our job or talent or house or bank account or future plans or political party or….
These aren’t bad things. But when our focus is on “reaching heaven” by making a name for ourselves on earth, we may make a name on earth but this will not get us to heaven.
Instead, God has offered us gifts and talents to use on earth to bring glory to Him.
He desires that we use these gifts with a heavenly focus to proclaim the greatness of His heavenly name, on earth.
Father God, you alone are worthy of all praise and glory. Please open my eyes to what you have given me to use here on earth to bring glory to your name. And help me to understand the best way to do this. Please be glorified by my life.