Make a Name for Ourselves
Scripture Reading: Genesis 11:1-9
1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 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; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 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. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel __ because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
“Let us . . . make a name for ourselves . . . [and not] be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
God created people so that they would increase in numbers and populate the earth. At the time of the tower of Babel, everyone had the same language, and the people said they wanted to make a name for themselves and not be scattered across the earth. But God ultimately scattered them.
Why did they build a tower? They said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens. . . .” From ancient civilizations we have learned that the top of a tower was seen as a holy place where gods lived. But instead of having a holy place that would honor God, the people at Babel wanted this to be a place where they made a name for themselves. They wanted to honor themselves instead of God. In doing so, they banished God from their lives and disobeyed his command to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Because of this rebellion, God confused their language and scattered them.
Imagine how God felt as he confused the people’s language. They couldn’t understand each other. They couldn’t work together anymore. They stopped building, and they moved away from each other.
In the end, people who drive out God cannot do well. They cannot understand each other, and they cannot work together to build a community that honors God.
O God, be the Lord and King of our hearts. Let us be concerned about honoring your name, not ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.