“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’ And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lordconfused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:1-9
Man was pretty smart. God had created him with ingenuity, skill, and drive, and had entrusted a lovely and varied world to his dominion. But human will poisoned by a sin nature can conjure up a variety of rebellion, and this is exactly what occurred on the Plain of Shinar. Their benevolent Maker had fashioned them for a relationship with Himself, and they coerced each other into building for personal and communal greatness, apart from Him. Making a name and fame for themselves was necessarily omitting a name and fame for Him. However, He was the true King, and would not stand for their plan. (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:3-8)
So disperse them He did, obliterating their ill-intentioned solidarity. He would divide this pride, dispel this self-promotion, scatter this effort that left Him out in plan, execution, and end. God can do anything, and will frustrate any plans He doesn’t want seen through. As high as we try to build without Him, as far as we attempt to reach or run away from Him, He is above and beyond and higher still, the Regent whose eye is on us and throne stands forever. (Job 42:1-2; Psalm 45:6; 139:7-10; Isaiah 55:8-9; Jeremiah 32:17)
We plan for naught when we ignore our Lord. We gather and collude and forge our way, we set out to achieve and build, but it is the Lord who determines our outcomes. To set Him aside is to elude true fulfillment and invite our peril, because life without Christ is not true life. It is only in Him, and with Him, that we own and enjoy our ultimate being. (Psalm 127:1; Proverbs 16:9; Acts 17:28)
From what part of my day, and life, do I attempt to exclude the Lord? What hidden closets and corners need exposing? What passions am I wont to engage apart from His inspiration and lead? What can I do today to bring every impulse under His tutelage and control?
Lord, may I never breathe or boast or build in vain. May my every ‘tower’ aim for, penetrate, and display Your glory.