Today you should read: Genesis 11:1-9
Let’s hammer this out! The “table of nations” (ch. 10) has decided to erect a structure that will reach the heavens. Now, before we think about this, look at verses 3 and 4. Focus on the phrase, “come, let us…” and realize where the arrogance begins. The people wanted to erect this structure primarily for three reasons.
First, they wanted to erect a tower whose “top was in heaven.” This statement reflects the heart of the people and displays defiance against God. Second, this structure was to make a “name” for them. The Hebrew term is shem which indicates “fame/reputation/a perpetual memorial.” This structure now becomes a monument of self-ambition and self-glorification. The third reason was to be autonomously congregated in one location which directly disobeyed God’s command found in Genesis 9:1, where He makes clear His desire for them “to multiply and fill the earth.” Commentaries suggest that the reason they desired to be congregated was because of strength and confidence and in so doing they were not depending on God.
Let’s move on to focus on v. 5-7. “Yahweh went down to see”. This phrase indicates God’s investigation of and acting upon a situation. Think about the gravity of this phrase! This language truly shows how ridiculous human work is when compared to an infinitely HUGE God. Procksch states it like this, “Yahweh must draw near, not because He is near-sighted, but because He dwells at such tremendous height and their work is so tiny.” God’s movement must be understood as complete ridicule of man’s work.
After His investigation, Yahweh sees that man’s ambition has no limit and then the phrase “come let us” is spoken by God. This is the same phrase that the people use in verses 3 and 4. God is ridiculing the builders at their effort to construct a tower “who’s top is in the heavens.” As a result of their arrogance and dependence on self rather than God He punishes them by “confusing them.” This may seem crazy, but “confuse” in Hebrew is n-b-l. The reverse of this term in Hebrew is l-b-n which means “brick” (v.3). This is no coincidence that it “underlines the teaching that a human enterprise that runs counter to the will of God is inherently perverse and doomed to self-destruction.” (I’m not this smart.. I read it in a commentary)
Now, before we point fingers at these people let us take a moment to reflect.
1) Do we seek self-glorification or the glory of God?
2) Are we obedient to God’s word or do what we want?
3) Are we satisfied in Christ alone?
This should be our battle cry:
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Be thou my vision now and always
Now and forever first in my heart
High Kingdom of Heaven, my treasure thou art
Posted by: Zach Monroe