1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick for stone, and tar for mortar. 4 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; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:1-4
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there, the Lord scattered them over the face of the entire earth.Genesis 11:1-4
When I was younger, this story baffled me. I’d listen to my grandma reading from the children’s Bible and innocently think: “but all they wanted to do was be closer to heaven!” My mind often went that direction again as I reread it when I got older. I didn’t take time to think further into it until about two years ago when the Holy Spirit stopped me in my reading tracks.
At the beginning of every year, we’re all somewhat on the same page:
New Year, New Me!
Resolutions and goals, and so on…
As the clock turns and we move [eastward] into the year, it could be easy to settle away from our dreams and visions, or even the promises of God. It’s easy to fall back into a mundane life and just kinda get by. As I pondered on these people’s goal to build a tower, I thought, huh, brick is a manmade material.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.Proverbs 28:26
Brick vs Stone
Brick is easy to construct, bakes quickly, and requires less skill. A lot of times when I want to get fast results, I do things that require less skill. I look for easy, quick ways, and don’t want to go through the process. I just need the end-result! But then, I end up feeling somewhat disappointed and a little lazy and unmotivated. Similarly, these guys chose the easy, fast route to get to their goal.
In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.Proverbs 16:9
Stone, on the other hand, is a natural material that needs to be found and worked on. It’s a slow and laborious process to carve, shape, and mold it. It requires time and patience. Just like in our lives, whether we make New Year’s Resolutions or have lifelong dreams that we wish would already become a reality, it all requires a process. Even relationships are a process!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.Proverbs 21:5
So the people that moved to Shinar didn’t get very far in building their tower (it was like 1.6 miles high). God came down from heaven and scattered them, what they already feared. This was after the flood, the rainbow, and promise. Noah’s descendants forgot God and became complacent.
If they had inquired God first, the story may have turned out a bit differently. But God knew this would happen and dealt with it. We now live in an exciting world with 6,500+ languages. And His intent for us to have a deep relationship with Him came to pass through Jesus. (Again, a process!)
All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.Proverbs 16:2
Don’t settle for less. Don’t become complacent.
Bring your plans to the Lord, He’ll guide you through and give you wisdom!
Practice patience and be diligent.
Work towards your goals and dreams, especially your 2020 resolutions!
Take time to “carve stone” and enjoy the process!