I absolutely love the irony of Genesis 11.
Here you have a people that are at the height of human accomplishment. They are motivated by spreading their name. Of course this turns God’s creation mandate—to fill the earth with His glory—on its head. These people aren’t concerned with populating the earth or enjoying God’s creation. Their aim is to habitat one place and make it their personal shrine of awesomeness.
They are going to build a mega city with a gigantic tower in the middle. It will be a sign to everyone, “LOOK HOW AWESOME WE ARE”. Surely everyone will see it and think, “This thing is freakin’ huge!!! These guys must be amazing.”
But check out verse 5, “And the LORD came down…” Did you catch that. It’s the tallest thing they could build but God has to come down to see it. “Hmmm…nice little tower you boys got going there. Have you guys seen Jupiter yet? You cats will love it. It’s huge.”
This story serves as a reminder that no matter how awesome we get, it’s but a speck compared to the awesomeness of God. It’s also a reminder that God isn’t content letting His creation rip themselves off by marveling at a tower at the expensive of the greater good; namely, enjoying God Himself.
Therefore, he confounds mankind. Because God knows that some other colony is going to come along and see that huge tower and think, “we can do better”. And we’ll spend our lives trying to see who can build the biggest tower and all the while we miss out on what really matters—God Himself.
By the way, you and I are in this story. We can still have a “Babel heart” that has a tendency to build up a bunch of junk just to show the world how awesome we are. I pray that God gives us the grace to scatter our plans and bring us down from these haughty places. It is mighty grace for God to not let us be settled with lovers less wild.
What is your tower of Babel?