And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; …nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” Genesis 11:6
Many Bible stories are perplexing and disturbing. We know these are stories told by ancient people who were doing their best to express their understanding of God and the world they saw around them. The story of the Tower of Babel, which many of us remember from our childhood, strains our religious sensibilities. Why, according to this story, did God need to confuse and scatter the people? What were they doing wrong? They were working together in harmony. They had a strong vision for their future. They were making impressive progress as a society. How could God be against that?
Unless, in the desire to make a name for themselves, they forgot the very purpose of their own creation. They had been created to be in relationship with God. They were not supposed to secure a place for themselves in the cosmos—they were supposed to adhere their lives to the presence of God. Independence and innovation were not to be their goals—dependence and cooperation with God were supposed to be their primary pursuit. All the progress in the world wasn’t nearly as important as partnership with God. Towers fall, societies crumble, names are forgotten, but our relationship with God endures forever.
Are you working for yourself, or are you in partnership with God?
Lord, too often I try to make a name for myself. I suspect I do this because I do not really trust in Your presence. I feel alone much of the time. I feel like a grain of sand amidst the great expanse of the cosmos. I desperately try to compensate for my smallness by doing more sizable works. However, I have this sneaking suspicion that my life and memory are ultimately bound to you . . . therefore, our partnership should be my first priority. Help me to get this straight. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.