“Let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”.
We might be tempted to conclude from this study that cities are inherently bad, but this is not so. God gave Israel their capital city of Jerusalem, and the ultimate abode of God’s people is God’s holy city coming down from heaven (Rev. 21:2). The concept of “city” is not evil, but the pride that we may come to attach to cities is what displeases God (Gen. 19:12-14). We sin when we look to civic triumph and culture, in place of God, as our source of meaning and direction. Bruce Waltke concludes his analysis of Genesis 11 in these words:
Society apart from God is totally unstable. On the one hand, people earnestly seek existential meaning and security in their collective unity. On the other hand, they have an insatiable appetite to consume what others possess….At the heart of the city of man is love for self and hatred for God. The city reveals that the human spirit will not stop at anything short of usurping God’s throne in heaven.
Of course we are blind to this because it is happening all around us. In this day and age for thousands of years. We are still seeking significance and fame apart from God. We disguised it in our quest to honor and worship God through our “offerings”. But He just wants our obedience; nothing that we offer to Him by our own strength can even hold up.
The insidious nature of this is so subtle that we tend to miss. That’s the great work of the devil. It is never the fights on moralistic grounds that he is interested to engage. He willingly allows us to be distracted by it.
How do I counter this? By living with gratefulness. To be blameless when mocked by those whom I’m tempted to please. To allow God’s non-order (the Flood) to overcome my disorder.
And then new creation begins again. As He breathes the Spirit into me.