August 06, 2006

Making a Name for Ourselves

Genesis 11:1-9

"Come, let us build ... so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered ..." Genesis 11:4


One conversation led to another. One plan led to a bigger one. "What if ... ?" the people asked. "What if we built a great city with a tower that touches the sky? We could see where to return when we traveled. Our civilization would last, and our name would endure."

What went wrong? The problem that usually occurs in such conversations and plans is that we don't include God in them. Maybe the people of Babel already knew that God wanted to fill the earth, so perhaps they simply wanted to build their reputation in one little corner of it. Instead of carrying the name of God with them, they decided to make a name for themselves.

The feeble efforts of the people at Babel were not a threat to God. The efforts of the people were a threat to themselves and to the design of God.

As a result, God came down and confused the people's language so they wouldn't understand each other. In this way, despite the people's sin and pride, God renewed the creation mandate to fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). Many years later God came down again to restore people by making them one with him, as he'd always intended. In the person of Immanuel--"God with us"--God came to save sinners and spread his name and good news "to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8; 2:1-41). Are you a part of this work that's still going on today?

God, please forgive our pride and our desire to make a name for ourselves. May we humble ourselves to listen to your words. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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