“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4
In reading through the account in Genesis 11 of the attitude of the people, I see similarities with our world-wide culture today.
The attitude of the people was in some ways to make themselves like gods – in this 34-word sentence – a reference to self appears 5 times: us, ourselves, and we. It is an attitude of independence or autonomy, “let us make a name for ourselves.”
“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…”[i]
Paul saw similar attitude during his time as well. “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19
Step back and think about the world’s scene today. Everywhere we turn that is exactly what nations, groups with a cause and individuals are doing – living to make a name for themselves with confidence in their own ability and minds set on earthly things. The pursuit of technology, knowledge and causes is evident across the globe. In many ways man is seeking to define his world relative to self without God.
Here is a brief example of a belief system I believe pervades our culture today:
“Belief in any of the Gods defined by major religions is a major intellectual copout…Philosophy is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of any person’s being. It is literally a collection of the guiding principles by which a person chooses to live. How can I respect the intelligence of someone who chooses to just not think about it for themselves? Who chooses to let an ancient text with uncertain authorship or a hierarchy of clergy dictate their philosophy to them? This isn’t even about whether or not God exists. It’s just about how mentally weak I believe a person has to be to let their philosophy be dictated to them.”[ii]
This is one of many that can be found with a simple Google search but I use it to illustrate one example of a world with self at its center – similar to the people in Genesis 11.
As children of the One True God this is not our home[iii] and we live in the midst of “enemies of the cross.”[iv] God’s very presence and testimony through His children will not and cannot be squelched. He will make Himself known.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:24
What difference can I make in a world with its own version of the Tower of Babel in the 21st century? As we remain true to God and His Word, God provides a plumb line of truth as a witness in the world.
Enjoy your blessings today,
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] ESV study note Genesis 11:4; ESV Study Bible page 69
[iii] Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
[iv] Philippians 3:18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
[v] 2 Timothy 1:12 But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me
[vi] Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those have faith and preserve their souls.