A little while ago, I wrote a post about mountains. The points of climbing (and spiritual growth) in our lives. God’s wonderful, awe-inspiring creation.
But today, I have on my mind Towers.
In my fellowship club’s Bible study this week, we read about the tower of Babel (the famous story of man’s rebellion and God’s somewhat amusing reaction). To sum it up: the people in this story – united by language and speech – decided to build a tower reaching to the heavens. God saw this and responded by scattering them over the face of the earth and confusing their language (Genesis 11).
There are several observations that stood out to my study group regarding the actions and characteristics of humankind as revealed in this chapter:
- They spoke the same language. They were united as one. This is not necessarily a bad thing (healthy unity), but this unity was misconstrued and eventually lead to a deadly group pride.
- They were disobedient. They were moving eastward (as God presumably wanted them to), when they decided to stop, and to settle.
- They used bricks instead of stone. They relied on man-made creation (easier to build, yet no where as strong as the natural kind).
- They decided to build a tower that would reach to the heavens, so that their name could be known. This group pride manifested itself into a desire for personal glory and a pride that tried to set themselves on heaven’s level.
How many times do we build towers for ourselves, seeking to circumvent God’s perfect, stable mountains?
The beautiful thing about this story is that it is a picture of God’s mercy and perfect timing.
Instead of punishing the people, He chose to scatter them – the one thing they were afraid of in the first place (Acts 11:4). When our pride gets in the way, God often gives us what we least want (but what we most need). He doesn’t just leave us to our own selves, because in reality, we are sinful and proud. We are designed to create, but when we let what we create become idols over the true Creator, our creations often destroy us.
Yet we also see that God’s actions eventually came full circle too. The language of the people – once the same – was confused. In Acts 2:4, we see that the people were all at once “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” God eventually gave humankind what He had originally planned, what we had destroyed in our pride. He didn’t give it to us in our own timing; He gave it to us in His perfect timing.
I pray today that I may be able to 1) trust that God knows best what I need (even when it’s not what I want) and 2) be humble and break down the existing towers in my life.