The Lord scattered them from there over all the earth.
Last year scientists in Japan announced that they intended to clone a woolly mammoth within the next five years. They believe they now have the technology to use long-frozen woolly mammoth tissue to create new specimens of the extinct creature. In making mankind in His image, God gave humanity vast creative capability. Unfortunately, our technology-obsessed society usually considers only whether we can do something, rather than if we should.
The problem with this tower in our passage was not the building per se, but rather its purpose. The repeated use of “Come let us” in verses 3 and 4 echo God’s own words in 1:26. The people wanted to build not to create something beautiful or useful, but to “make a name” for themselves. The height of tower completes this distorted picture. Once again, mankind sought to challenge God and take His place.
God takes this seriously (11:6), not because we can actually supplant Him, but because this diabolical cooperation supported humanity’s delusion. God wants fellowship with us even when we sin. He does not want to see people deluded about their own glory instead of acknowledging Him. Verse 2 indicates that they traveled east, where many believe Eden may have once existed. Mankind wanted immortality, but on their own terms apart from God. Babel shows us that heaven will not be grasped through human ambition; it is given as a gift of God.
God’s own usage of “let us” (v. 7) reasserts His control, and this provides the context for the genealogies that introduce us to Abram. With humanity as a whole failing to walk with God, He focused on one man through whom salvation will come. God would also call him from his comfortable surroundings to follow Him.
Apply the Word
How are you using your gifts and talents? The story of Babel reminds us that our creativity and ambition comes from God and should be used for His glory, not our own. Are you building a legacy of faith, or a monument to yourself? As you think about your gifts, ask the Holy Spirit to direct you in ways that you can use these in service to the Lord.