Babel: A Tower Story
"You built your tower strong
Can't you see, it's got to
~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.
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.
"I will build my church and
the gates of Hades will not
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~
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.”
"I define ego as Edging
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
Is true humility a garment we wear & take off at will?
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.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
- A Singularly Significant Story
Once upon a time, driving home from church, a little boy remarked, "The preacher said that God is so big he could hold the whole world in his hand. Is that true?" The mother answered, "Yes, thats true, honey." "But Mommy. . ."
- To Rise Above Regrets
Regrets have a way of freezing us up inside. Sometimes the accumulated weight of them can be an ice-pick striking with ceaseless precision. Guilt, real or imagined, can keep us wide-awake long past bedtime. . .