Babel: A Tower Story

"You built your tower strong
 and tall
 Can't you see, it's got to
 fall someday?"
     ~Townes Van Zandt~

Genesis 11:1-9 - NIV

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 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 and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.  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.”

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

 
 
 
 The tower of Babel was a
 ziggurat, with a runway or
 stairs that went around the
 edge up to the top. From
 archeological digs we know
 that at the top of the
 ziggurat there was an altar
 used for pagan sacrifice.

Pride

In the previous chapter of Genesis we learn about a man named Nimrod. He was a mighty warrior. Scholars agree that he founded the place called Babel.

It is evident that Nimrod was attempting to build an empire without the blessing or direction of God. He was the first in a long line of power seekers with aspirations of world domination combined with delusions of grandeur.

Nimrod was a great-grandson of Noah. He established Nineveh, which was destined to become the wicked city where Jonah would be sent to preach.

Babel is equivalent to pride: “. . .so that we may make a name for ourselves. . .”

Pride is about us, not about God. Pride makes a name for ourselves when we’re in fact created to glorify our Creator.

Pride will affect our worship simply because it is a deadly virus that’ll eat away at us emotionally and spiritually. Pride is a great deceiver and destroyer.

It distorts our perspective and grip on reality because it puts me and mine first. In that mindset, if God gets anything from us it’s begrudging or second best.

Pride is detrimental because it causes us to try and impress God or others with our goodness. God is no respecter of persons.

God doesn’t honor our self-made righteousness—God doesn’t honor our self-made name in any area of our lives. God measures success based on our obedience.

Pride is a dandelion of the soul. Its roots go deep and are difficult to kill. If only a little is left behind the plant sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks and it flourishes in just a bit of soil.

One danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness, which causes us to forget that being active in the service of God is a privilege. God loves us and wants to use us in his service, but—and this may be a shocker for some—he doesn’t need us.

No one is indispensable. We all think we are essential to keep the merry-go-round running, but guess what? No one is indispensable.

Yes, each one of us is important to God. He knows us inside out—he is intimately acquainted with all our ways. BUT, God is going to accomplish his eternal purposes with or without us.

Any one of us could die today and for those who remain, life will go on with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, frustrations and challenges. Jobs will get done, deadlines will be met, bills will get paid, ministry will continue. Life will go on, and most importantly, Jesus will build his church.

Worship

Every believer is invited to participate in this supernatural building project, and it’s a privilege to be involved. However, if we do not accept the invitation, Christ will move on to someone else who is available and willing to be used. When that occurs, those who decline the invitation miss out on the blessings.

Jesus will build his church with or without us. It is being built for the honor and glory of God, which raises an interesting question: Why do you attend church?

Our primary reason for going to church should be to worship God alongside of fellow members of the body of Christ. Worship is more than just singing a few songs, performing a few rituals, saying a few prayers, and enduring a sermon.

We worship to experience the presences of God; to acknowledge his authority in our lives as our Creator. Worship ought to remind us of who God is and who we are—we worship to pledge our faith, obedience, and desire to exalt him.

We cannot do any of that when worship is all about us and not about God. True worship cannot happen if we are busy making a name for ourselves.

 It's like the beaver told  
 the rabbit as they stared up
 at the immense wall of the 
 Hoover Dam, "No, I didn't 
 actually build it myself.
 But it was based on an
 idea of mine."
    ~Charles H. Townes~

Self-inflated Attitude

Pride will affect our view of life; pride produces a self-inflated attitude that can only distance us from God.

From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture warns us about pride. We are told that God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud; by direct words and by metaphor we learn that pride leads to destruction.

It is evident that our level of humility relates to how big God is—if we perceive a small God or don’t believe God can direct our lives, then we think that we are able to do a better job than he can.

Or, we will be like Nebuchadnezzar who looked at his accomplishments and boasted, “Look what I have done.”

Daniel 4:29-37 - NIV

Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 

The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. 

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 

All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” 

At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

"A man is never so proud as
 when striking an attitude
 of humnility."
      ~C.S. Lewis~ 

Is true humility a garment we wear & take off at will?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No Opinion
See results without voting

Humility

God showed Nebuchadnezzar what he amounted to without God. The mighty King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon became a mad man living with animals in the fields.

All of life—your life and my life is about God—not about us.

When we grasp the proper perspective, our self-image will be tied into God’s view of us. Humility will be the natural outgrowth. Humility is not hanging our head low and belittling ourselves.

Genuine humility can be rare. When it comes to humility, its authenticity can be so easily faked. We can fool those around us, but God will not and cannot be suckered in by a charade. 

Sincere humility is nurtured when we depend on the sovereignty of God. Humility is understanding that God’s ways are not our ways; humility is choosing to align ourselves with the One who created us; humility is trusting his ability to lead and direct us. Humility is a never-ending growing process.

Humility is necessary for salvation and for spiritual growth. No one can demand that God let them into heaven; no one has ever grown spiritually by building their tower strong and tall to make a name for themselves.

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Comments 30 comments

Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

Ken, thanks.

I like those: One danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness, which causes us to forget that being active in the service of God is a privilege.

God is going to accomplish his eternal purposes with or without us.

We worship to experience the presences of God.

...and I would add, give Him glory.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Vladimir Uhri - You're welcome. Thanks for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Surely our arrogance and pride are leading us headfirst right into the abyss of utter lost-ness and hopelessness.

"Humility is understanding that God’s ways are not our ways; humility is choosing to align ourselves with the One who created us; humility is trusting his ability to lead and direct us. Humility is a never-ending growing process."

This is true Christian wisdom.

Thanks Ken!

Forever His,


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RevLady - You're welcome. Thank you for visiting & sharing comments. Blessings.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

What a key point in both history and the Bible and something we still fail to get today! Thanks so much for sharing this impacting story with us! Great job!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

You're welcome, Ann Nonymous. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.


E. Nicolson profile image

E. Nicolson 6 years ago

As always, Ken, you provide serious food for thought. Thank you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

E. Nicolson - You're welcome. Thank you for your words of encouragement. Blessings.


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 6 years ago from India

Interesting.. though i m not a christian nor know anything about bible but i liked the story


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

sweetie1 - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Glad you enjoyed the story.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

There are a lot of "towers" that are "built to God". thanks!


A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

Ken, "Pride is a dandelion of the soul" - now that is poetic. Sadly it seems, many Christians are out to impress people with their holiness, by always reminding the left hand of what the right hand is doing. Pride truly is the spiritual version of a tower - a lifting up from the place where we were supposed to be content to stay. One of the other things that it is said about the zigguraut, is the divination through astrology that was done on the top level; always trying to discern the face of the sky and earth - but not the time. The time has truly come to be humble. Peace.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Brother Ken, does this mean that we should not take pride in the things that God has assisted us to accomplish? It is my understanding that false pride or bragging, is wrong, but if I accomplish something special with God's assistance, should I not feel a sense of pride that I followed God's ways, to complete that which he set forth for me to do, even though he worked along side me?

Dave.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Micky Dee - I think you're exactly right. Thanks for stopping in & sharing.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

AM - Thanks you for your good words. Much appreciated. Blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dave - Thanks for your questions, which I think boil down to this: Is there healthy pride?

I suspect that here is one of those places where the English language fails us. Should we take satsfaction in a job well done that glorifies God? Yes, I think so. Can that open the door to false pride & bragging. Likely, yes.

The point, I think, is to have the perspective that God is & we're not him. Blessings.


Saintatlarge profile image

Saintatlarge 6 years ago from Canada

Hi Ken, some fine writing. I find it interesting with King Neb, that after a time he was restored where the Kingdom was ripped away from Saul. So we see that there are extremes, from Neb to the foolish servant. The in between of life where we all fit in is constantly under God's mercy and grace. This is a huge blessing to be able to live without an overshadowing pressure to have to always wonder if we have arrived. Jesus made the perfect intercession so we don't have to bear a load of guilt and worry. So we can have this pride; pride in what our big brother did on our account. This keeps the balances always in our favor and God's heart is well pleased. God's choices; I think everyone knows the story about Billy Graham, that he wasn't his first choice. Blessings Bro, St.L.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Saintatlarge - Thanks. I appreciate your comments. Nice to remember that because of grace the balances are always in our favor. Blessings.


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Yes the pride before the fall, so appropriate! Another great hub, love reading your thoughts:) Thanks again:)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

heart4theword - You're welcome. Thank you for your positive comments. Always much appreciated. Blessings.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

ken, This is an excellent article about pride and humility which provides much food for thought. I enjoyed this immensely.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Pamela - Thank you for your words of affirmation. Glad you enjoyed it. Blessings.


Leona Asper 6 years ago

Doing I & II Corinthians for bible quizzing. Paul talks alot about boasting in these books. This helps to understand what Paul was talking about. The problem of pride has been going on for thousands of years.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Leona - Thank you. Pride's been a problem since the beginning of time. Blessings.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

Ken...again a thoughtful hub...you have an amazing way of making us stop reading and think...and then read again. I appreciate this about your hubs.

Your question you asked...."so why do you attend church?" struck me. I asked myself that question...and am trying not to be satisfied with the quick answer. It is one I am going to contemplate...and possibly write about, maybe not for publishing...but it is to (hopefully) publish to myself what is really in my heart.

Thank you and bless you

UlrikeGrace

BTW Congrat's on the HubPages elite status...just noticed it...:)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

UlrikeGrace - Thank you for your thoughful & encouraging words. Writing what's in one's heart is always a good exercise.

All the HubPages Elite means is that I joined the HubPage welcome wagon to welcome new hubbers to the site. Peace & blessings to you.


PrometheusKid profile image

PrometheusKid 6 years ago from Heaven

Nimrod was greater than Adoni.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

PrometheusKid - Thanks for stopping in.


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Thank you Ken for this awesome share. Glory to God. I enjoyed and savored each word. The Spirit moves in you. I was touched and Blessed. God is so amazing. Love n Hugs brother. Keep pressing on. Your words do flow like the fresh living water of Jesus. Your sis in Christ.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

skye2day - You're welcome. Thank you for your blessed & encouraging words. Much appreciated. Blessings.

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