Friday, January 3, 2014

The Tower of Babel

I've been reading Genesis again, and was struck by the story of the Tower of Babel this morning.

I'd always had the impression that the primary sin of the people of Babel was pride... that they thought they could reach God or achieve god-like status by building a tower to the sky. I'm not sure where I got that idea.

Their two purposes were to "make a name for ourselves" and to "not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

The first is a pride-twisted manifestation of the God-given human desire for significance. We try to make much of ourselves instead of making much of God and finding our ultimate and true significance in Him.

The second is a direct attack on God's command to Adam and twice to Noah, that we should "be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." Babel was a rebellion against God's first command (and blessing). And of these two sins, this seems to be the one that the Bible stresses. Twice in three sentences we read that God scattered them (Gen 11:8-9).

I'm not sure what to take away from this, aside from the fact that God will accomplish His purposes, whether it is through us or in spite of us. God wins, every time.

On a related note, I've noticed that we have two options when it comes to pride: humble ourselves before God, or be humbled by God. There are no other alternatives. And the former always works out much better (from a human perspective).

1 comment:

Jfishjosh said...

I love it! I started my chronological reading and so I was on the Babel story and made the same realization (thankful for the ESV study notes for telling it to me outright!!!)