Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies—a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world.—Genesis 11:4
On the plain of Shinar, the people decided to make a name for themselves by building a great tower. Their example shows the powerful forces of self-exaltation at work within the human race. God cannot share His glory, however, and will intentionally bring to naught any plan or project that overly exalts the name of humankind. The opposite of such an exalted spirit can be seen in Abraham’s life. Abraham, a lowly Aramaean, became the father of faith for all time. God promised him, “I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others” (Genesis 12:2). Subsequent passages show how Abraham’s simple, childlike obedience repeatedly attracted God’s favor. He rose to higher and higher planes of honor by placing his faith solely in God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:3, “God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.” In verse 5 He says, “God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.” What a contrast these attitudes are to those of the arrogant tower builders who tried to control the earth through their aggressiveness! The psalmist said, “With deepest awe I will worship at your Temple” (Psalm 5:7). A temple, not a tower, is what we are building, and all its glory belongs to God, not to us!