“Then they said “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world” Genesis 11:4
It had been going relatively well. Mankind had recovered from the flood, the people were living together in Babylon, and they all spoke the one language. (That would have suited me very well, my foreign language skills extend to about as far as ‘Mi no comprendo’ and ‘en anglais?’ – which got me through a week working with kids who spoke Spanish as their primary language over the summer…) But then it all went wrong. The people decided to build a name for themselves, looking to build a tower into the sky that would make them famous. They turned away from living to make much of God, to living to make much of themselves. They lost the focus. They forgot how small they were, and how mindblowingly big God, who calls the stars by name, is.
The chief goal of our life should be to glorify God (and as John Piper likes to say, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.) We are meant to live to make His name great among the earth. We should constantly be giving praise to Him. For without God we are nothing. Anything we achieve it is through the abilities He has given us. Whatever we are, it is by the grace of God. We are just tiny people on one small planet in the vast expanse of His amazing universe. We are small, microscopic in the scale of the universe, and He is insanely huge, holding it all in His hands and He cares to know us and love us.
When you think of it like that it is kind of crazy that the Babylonians would chose to make a tower to speak of their fame. Were they there when God spoke the stars into existence from nothing? Did they know the depths of the oceans or the heights of the mountains He created? Could they say how many hairs they had on their head? Who were they compared to Almighty God that they should build a name for themselves? How could they fall from praising his name to trying to magnify their own?
And yet, don’t we do it too? Maybe for us it is more subtle, it isn’t our name we are building, we have this humility thing mastered – perfectly! But are we living to glorify God’s name or someone or something else’s? Just think for a moment about the things you talk about with your friends – TV shows, bands, the latest gadget, the weekend’s sport. Is what dominates our conversation God’s grace, or man-made idols? Are we telling of what He has done in our life, or are we spending all our time talking about the achievements of the latest wonderkid goal scorer?
God calls us to glorify His name, not to build a name for ourselves or some worldly thing. When people see us do they see us as faithful followers of Christ, living to make much of Him, or do they see us as dedicated to something else? Dedicated to getting the next promotion? Focused on impressing the right people? Obsessed with Twilight/Glee/24/Rugby/Lady Gaga/etc? There is nothing wrong with enjoying these things in moderation (well, maybe Twilight should be avoided…); but we should make it clear to all around us that what we care about most is not some TV show, pop album or sports team, but that our heart is dedicated to something infinitely greater, the Creator of the universe, God Almighty. Today let’s resolve to dedicate our life to building fame for God’s name, nothing and no-one else.