Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; — Genesis 11:9
Of all the stories in the Bible, the story of the Tower of Babel seems on the surface like the least big of a deal. What I mean is that it doesn’t seem like God would care if the people wanted to build a huge tower that went way up in the sky. Surely that tower didn’t even touch the heights of some of the buildings that have been built in the last century. God didn’t stop us. Why did He stop them?
The more I think about it, I think I’m beginning to understand. The people wanted to “reach the heavens” without God. They wanted to get there on their own terms and by the work of their own hands . . . No God necessary.
So it continues today. People want to make it to Heaven, but only on their own terms. We continue to say we are Christians, but hardly ever get alone with God to read His Word and pray to Him. We continue to claim that we love Him, but refuse to actually obey His commands. If the truth were known, God gets very little of our attention, much less our affection during our week. We have somehow invented a brand new god who believes and acts an awful lot like we do. A God who simply winks at our sinful behavior. We have re-invented the one true God of the Bible. We have turned Him into a golden calf, a brand new god that does not demand surrender, consecration or holiness and allows us to worship the way we want to on our own terms. Unfortunately for many, this brand new god does not exist and has no power to help us reach Heaven. I know because I served this god for far too long. This god left me empty, wanting, and never gave me an ounce of peace or assurance.
It turns out, the attempt to build a tower was and still is a very big deal, that is why God will always put the brakes on it. God would not allow me to make up my own rules, or treat Him like some idol to be prayed to when I needed or wanted something. He refused to be my genie in a lamp. There was no right way to rub Him or manipulate Him that would force Him to do my bidding. It has always been His rules, His terms.
So how do I get to Heaven?
Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” — John 14:6
It’s not about making a name for myself and getting to do things my way. It is about honoring His Name and trusting Him enough to do things His way regardless of the consequences to me. I don’t have to look good in this process. I just have to be obedient.
Lord, there is nothing I want more right now than to live my life Your Way on Your terms. Help me to use my life to make Your Name great. Kill any desire in my heart to make a name for myself, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, but Yours . . . The name of Jesus. The name above all names.
The only way to Heaven.