Although I’m not a handyman, I actually am naturally more predisposed to building and putting things together. When I was a child I was a bit of a hoarder because I had visions of putting items together and building machines with them: broken calculators, toys, etc. I’m not sure what I was going to make, but the desire to build was in me. Even now, there is such a sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something with your hands.
In the natural, we build things and see the evidence of our labour, but we must also recognize that we are also continually building in the spiritual world as well. The question is not if we will build, but what will we build, and will what we build be of eternal value.
Looking at the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, we are told a story of a building project that took place around 300 years after the Great Flood. In Genesis 9:1, after the flood, Noah had been instructed that God’s plan was for man to multiply and fill the earth. 300 years later we see that man has decided to make plans of his own. In verse 4, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens.” The people had decided that they had plans of their own. On the surface these plans seem good. What is wrong with building a city?
Then the people used brick and tar (vs 3) to build the city. These materials in and of themselves seem practical and useful. They are strong and waterproof materials that are well suited to building. However, their choice of materials reveal a hidden perspective and mindset of the people. These people had stopped believing in God and had begun to trust in themselves. Their choice of waterproof materials underlies that they no longer believed the promise that God had made to them after the flood, that God would not flood the earth again. Instead of relying on the promise of God, these men were relying on their own strength. They were relying on bricks and tar to keep them safe from danger.
Although it is easy in hindsight to look at the people of Babel and judge them based on the disastrous outcome, on closer examination, we realize that their plans in and of themselves were not bad. It is not bad to build a city. It is not bad to build a tower. It is not bad to use brick and tar. But what seems good to man, may not be the plan of God.
So let us examine ourselves. What are we building in our lives? In our homes, churches, careers, relationships, whose plan are we following: God’s or our own. What materials are we using to build these things in our lives? Are our lives build on faith, or are we doing what is right in our own eyes? In Psalm 127 it says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” We may manage to build many things in our lives, but unless they are built in faith on Christ, they are in vain. Let us build, not a tower unto ourselves that will be temporary and destroyed, but let us build an Ark, a vessel that that demonstrates the Glory of our God.
– Jen Jegede