Genesis 11: 4 says, “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.” Mercy.
The Tower of Babel was built for two reasons: fame and fear. There is a pressure to “make our mark” or “leave a legacy.” If that legacy is built on our testimony of what Christ has done, if that “mark” makes Jesus famous, we are heading in the right direction. When we try to “make a name for ourselves” or make ourselves famous, well, you can see the instant downfall that occurs in our digital world today. People go viral for the craziest stuff. We must ask ourselves what we want to be known for. What do we want people to remember about us? If they remember anything, let them remember our pursuit of Christ, our love for our neighbors, our faith in the face of hardship, and our humility.
Fear is the second reason the people built the tower. They were afraid they were going to be scattered. They sought safety and security in this tower. Fear can make us do weird stuff. People spend their whole lives in fear and forfeit living in the purpose and the will of God. Fear is powerful and deceptive. We are not called to fear. Christ’s perfect love casts out all fear. If I have lost my life to Christ, what is there to be afraid of? He is my hiding place. He protects me. Neither fear nor faith keeps the bad thing from happening, but fear robs me of the joy of His presence. Fear robs me of the peace that passes understanding. And most of the time, the thing I am afraid of does not come to pass. Fear is wasted time.
What are we seeking safety and security in? Our bank account? Our reputation? Our family? If the answer is anything other than Jesus, we’re looking to the wrong place. Our identity is wrapped up in the place we find safety and security. The trouble with finding my identity in anything other than Christ is that we will allow the enemy to define us. We will believe lies about who we are. We become not only ineffective for the gospel, but we can be paralyzed in caring what people think about us.
Genesis 11 goes on to show the Lord’s response to the tower. Verse 6 and 7 say “The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” One of the commentaries I read said the tower was built in response to the Flood. Although the Lord promised he would never flood the earth again, the people took it upon themselves to make a Plan B. Just in case God didn’t keep his promise.
Good grief. I’m all for a good backup plan, but the Lord promised. Period. This makes the whole “building of the tower” a lack of faith. An example in solving a problem the Lord has already spoken on.
I do this. I have all the promises of God available. And he is not a man that he would lie. I’ve watched his faithfulness in impossible situations over and over and over. Yet, still, I have the “itch” to help Him out by working out a Plan B. Plan B doesn’t trust God. Plan B thinks it knows better than the Lord. Plan B is not only a lack of faith; it’s blasphemy. And that’s why the Lord scattered the people (exactly what they were afraid of, by the way) and confused their language.
What is our Tower of Babel? What are we building for our Plan B? What promise of God do we not really believe? Let me tell you, friend, he knows. He’s been working with you on it for a long time. He’s patient because he’s not a high priest that he doesn’t understand. How about you talk to him about it today? Let’s stop building our tower and allow the presence of Christ to calm our weary souls?