Now the whole world had one language and a common speech....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. Genesis 11:1, 4-9 (NIV)
I'm going to keep this short & sweet today, but I want to share two thoughts:
1) Obviously, there is nothing inherently wrong with constructing buildings or towers, but it was the motivation behind it that troubled God: their strong desire to make a name for themselves and their reliance on themselves, rather than on God.
When I read this, I had to do a little self-reflection. I don't know about you, but for me, too often I'm focused on what will help me look good and what will help me gain the approval of others. Even when I initially start out doing something with the pure intention of glorifying God, it is all too easy to lose my focus along the way. Ironically, it seems that it is often at the times that God is most blessing my endeavors, that pride kicks in and my focus quickly changes to myself. Hmm, I'm noticing a recurring theme in my life lately of the need to not only glorify God, but also to seek acceptance & self-worth from Him! (Click here to see related posts.)
Galations 1:10 says, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Colossians 3:23 says this: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. I Thessalonians 2:5 says, "....We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts." And finally, John 8:54 says, "Jesus replied, 'If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing....' " Wow! If even Jesus, who was God wrapped up in human form, didn't have the right to glorify himself, how much less do I? God, may I only seek to honor and please You! Please tear down any towers of pride in my life.
2) My second thought from this passage focuses on verse 6, which is where God states that if they are one people, speaking the same language, then nothing will be impossible for them. Although this isn't typically the lesson or sermon we hear concerning this message, this verse made me stop and think a minute about the importance of communication. So God is saying that if they can communicate purely, without any confusion or misunderstanding, that they can succeed in anything they do. What does that say about the importance of communication in our relationships? Our marriage? On the job? And of most importance, what about our communication with God? My prayer is that God gives me the wisdom to know how to best communicate with those around me. But more than that, I pray that my communication with God becomes all that it needs to be. And by the way,communication doesn't just involve speaking, it also involves listening!