“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘come let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they laid brick for stone and bitumen for mortar. 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.’ And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, ‘behold they are one people, and they all have one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose will be impossible
for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:1-9
Context is everything. Especially when we look at God’s word. Like these Babel builders, we can twist and turn any piece of scripture to support and endorse our own thoughts. If we are going to fully understand what is happening in chapter 11, we need to have read the chapters leading to this tale of tower building. Prior to this story, in Chapter 10 we see God restoring Noah and his descendants back to dry land and making a covenant with them with one request; “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”.
One thing….. I recently saw a video of a young man who played the cymbals for his school orchestra. Now playing the cymbals doesn’t mean you’re going to get much in terms of “playing time”. However when you do get your chance to play, it’s typically at the climax of some dramatic musical piece, and that one “clang” is quite loud and glorious. This poor young man’s moment came and went as he promptly fell off the back of the platform, knocking over the drums and taking out a fellow band member!
And like these Babel people, he had “ONE” thing to do and blew it.
Misery loves company. And so does sin. These Babel builders were doing two things. They were living in defiance to the one thing God had asked of them (to GO) and seeking glory for themselves. In building a tower they’d live like the nations (not in tents but in cities) that didn’t follow Yahweh. They’d create security by building a fortress with their own hands and get some glory and notoriety in the process.
You weren’t meant to glorify yourself. You were made to glorify God. All throughout God’s word we see Him making ways where there seems to be no way through miracles. In the case of these Babel builders, it can appear like God was not
“making a way”, but getting “in the way”.
Indeed Psalm 33:10 says God “thwarts the plans of his people”. God DIVIDES here because His people are seeking glory for themselves. But in the New Testament, when His people are filled with the Holy Spirit and surrendered to HIS glory,
He restores their ability to understand each other and literally ABIDES within them!
God’s story throughout scripture and a life surrendered to Him brings HIM glory. The miracle of what appeared to be confusion; dispersing men and advancing God’s kingdom. Are you living a life seeking glory for yourself, or surrendered to watching God get the glory? I don’t know about you, but I want to be on the front row, watching my miracle as God brings glory to HIS name!
I am praying today that We would abide in Him, seek and see HIS glory!!