In the story of the Tower of Babel that we’re studying this week, we find God scattering humanity across the earth, many languages. Was it a bad thing? I suggested it happened because of a bad thing, but was meant to be good for us, and lead us to something even better.
All the detail about baking bricks in this story is a clue. Later in the Bible, God’s people are forced to make bricks, as slaves in Egypt. There is some foreshadowing here – they are making bricks as slaves to their own grandeur and ego. They’re worshipping themselves, and they are hard taskmasters. God didn’t ask them to do back breaking work baking bricks and building towers. He wanted them to tend a garden and enjoy its fruit.
We can enslave ourselves to building a certain image. How many people describe their life similarly today, like a treadmill or hamster wheel?
We’re tempted to solve all our spiritual problems with our manmade solutions. God scattered us and confused our langauges to help dispel that illusion. We could never make our way back to God simply by cooperating to build a tower to the clouds, working together, developing technology, etc.
We had a soul problem, and we could never solve it on our own, even together as a unified human race. We wouldn’t be able to climb a tower to God. We would need God to come to us.
We could never make our name great enough to impress God and save ourselves, so we needn’t waste time and energy trying. To be saved, we would need to call on his great name, humbled before God.
This is what God did in coming to earth as Jesus, he answered that humble cry for help from humanity. He stepped down from heaven, and became one of us.
He ended sin’s power over humanity, all of it.
He now invites us to his kingdom, where all the diversity of human life can reconvene once again in full relationship with God and one another.
We can join him there not because of what we’ve done, our technology, our institutions, our efforts at all, but because of what God has done.
It’s his invitation to offer, not ours to take. The kingdom is his party to welcome us into, not ours to crash!
Challenge: Make a list of ways you are developing your reputation, or making a name for yourself. Next to each one, write down a way you can point to God instead.