It is a priceless gift when someone shows you a gospel treasure hidden in plain sight in the Bible. My good friend, Jameson Nass, just did this for me in his excellent sermon on the tower of Babel from Genesis 11. His insights were so helpful that I want to share a few of them with you.
When Our Aim Is Our Name
You know the Tower of Babel story. The ancient people living on the plain of Shinar 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, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4)
The Mesopotamians' had one aim: to make a name for themselves. God is not present in their aim. They are aiming at their own greatness.
And in these ancient Babel-onians we can see a picture of ourselves. Like them, we are sinners too often full of pride and selfish ambition, giving way too much thought about what others think about us and what our legacy will be. Like them, we too often have a ridiculous, exaggerated desire for our own glory and can put great effort into marshaling our resources and systems to achieve it.
God Will Mercifully Mess Up Our Aim
But here's how God responded to the Ziggurat of human pride:
"And the Lᴏʀᴅ came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built." (Genesis 11:5)
The fact that God "came down" to view what men had built puts us all in our place. As Nass eloquently said, "God always has to 'come down' to examine our anthill achievements built in the sidewalk cracks of his creation."