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 and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (NIV) Genesis 11:4
After the flood, God had Noah bring out the animals and said to him: “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). God had told Adam the same thing after He created the earth and all that lives on it (Genesis 1:22 and 1:28). God gave Noah and his sons dominion over the birds, fish, and animals (Genesis 9:2) as He did with Adam in Genesis 1:26. God gave the plants to Adam for food (Genesis 1:29) and to Noah in Genesis 9:3. Even the warning to Noah about shedding another man’s blood, reminds us of Cain killing Abel (Genesis 4) and the consequences of his actions. In essence, God and man began all over again after the flood. There was one family and they were to multiply and fill the earth.
As men multiplied, they spread out in clans and established their own territories. At this point in time, everyone spoke the same language. The people made the decision to make a building to reach the sky. Their plan was to reach heaven and establish a name for themselves. It was in the pride of thinking that they could reach God and “be someone” that was their downfall. They wanted to live by their own plans, not God’s plan. But, God thwarted their plan by confusing their language so that they could not understand each other and thus their plan failed. This sets the scene for the conflict that is found throughout the remainder of Genesis as well as the rest of the Bible. Men and women want to follow their own desires, instead of God’s plan.
How are you building your own Tower of Babel? How are you trying to establish your name as opposed to establishing God’s name? Are you trying to “be someone” at the expense of others? In what ways are you living to please yourself instead of following God? How are you side-stepping God’s plans for your life?
The men and women who are disobedient to God live with the consequences of their disobedience. But, the men and women who are faithful and obedient to God are the ones that are used by God for His purposes. Which group are you in?