From Genesis 11:1-4:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves…
I know when I read a story like this, I can get lost in the details. I think to myself, ‘What’s this tower like? What’s it’s significance?’ Good questions to be sure but perhaps the better question than ‘what’ is ‘why.’ Why did they build the tower? The answer is in the text: to make a name for themselves.
Listen to what the ESV Study Bible commentary has to say on this verse:
The Babel enterprise is all about human independence and self-sufficiency apart from God. The builders believe that they have no need of God. Their technology and social unity give them confidence in their own ability, and they have high aspirations, constructing a tower with its top in the heavens.
The Tower of Babel incident is very similar to the incident in the garden, is it not? In fact, when you think about it, the striving for human independence and self sufficiency apart from God is something the Israelites struggled with throughout the Old Testament. It’s the struggle that we all have today as well.
If we’re honest, sports can be a contemporary way for ourselves to “make a name for ourselves,” right? Some of us can hide it better than others but the idol of sports is very real in our hearts.
May we be continually humbled by the grace of God when it comes to our idols and may we be constantly reminded that our significance is secure in what Jesus did on the cross.