Let’s talk about The Tower of Babylon this week. In Genesis 11, it tells of a people who settled in the valley of Shinar. They made bricks and used asphalt to build buildings. At the time, everyone spoke the same language and communicated freely amongst each other. They decided to do something BIG, literally, “And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4 HCSB). The people of the land wanted to build a tower into the heavens for full access and control.
In their words, they said, “let us…” twice. And in that we know they were focused on glorifying themselves. They were trying to “make a name for [themselves]...” They weren’t trying to build a tower to seek God’s face. They weren’t trying to build a tower to glorify God. They were trying to make a name for themselves. It was inward focused. It was of selfish motivation. It was self-glorification at its finest. Who needs God when you can do it yourself?
God wasn’t a fan and didn’t love the idea of these people trying to climb their way into Heaven, so He said, “Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7 HCSB). There are a few notable things to unpack here:
God said “Let Us…” Who is Us? Based on Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image…” God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit is the “Us.” The Trinity. Reigning in Heaven before Their plan ever came to be. Part of it ALL together. I love seeing this, affirming that Jesus knew it all and still chose to come to die for us. It’s simply beautiful seeing the entire story come together - beginning to end - the Alpha and Omega in it and through it all (Revelation 22:13).
Humans said “Let us build,” and God said, it’s still not high enough, “Let Us go down there.” When we seek to build our own towers for self-glorification, they will never be high enough to replace God. We can never be God. We will always fail. And our God will always come down to meet us right where we are. Because All “...Salvation, glory and power belong to God (Revelation 19:1).
God never feared that man would actually make it to Heaven. He doesn’t fear us. Instead His action of confusing the language was for protection. He knew at this point how evil humans were. He dealt with Adam and Eve breaking one sacred rule, causing the fall of humanity. He dealt with Cain murdering Abel. He saw the evilness of mankind amongst each other and chose to flood the earth. And yet, we returned, just as evil as before. He confused the language to keep our evil plans and ambitions in check.
The Tower of Babylon is a powerful illustration of the ways in which we build towers. Although we may not acknowledge it, we’re all “building towers.” They’re not all headed for the heavens. Some of them are built from greed, “sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy… anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar…” Paul wrote, “...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:20-21). I know there are a number of things in that list Paul wrote that I personally struggle with. Yet, thankfully, condemnation to hell is not the end of our story.
Why? Because the same God who came down to confuse the language of the people, is the SAME God who came to die for us. The same God who “...was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
Friends, He’s in it all. He’s in our towers, whether He’s invited or not. As we enter into a new week, think about the tower in your life. Where is it headed? How can you glorify God in the construction of it? Invite Him in and let Him transform your tower from the inside out. Because what a gift it is to serve “...God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). Invite Him in.