Monday, September 14, 2009

"And Let Us Make for Ourselves a Name"

This is the second post in a three-part series on the sin of those who purposed to build the Tower of Babel.

Last time, I introduced the scene at the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9) and observed that the sin of the 'Babel-onians' was twofold. First, by their desire to not be scattered abroad over the whole earth, there was direct disobedience of God's command to fill the earth (Gen 1:28; 9:1). We focused on this aspect of their sin and found ourselves right there with them, building that tower, as we discovered the desperate sickness of the rebellion of our hearts against our God.

Today I'm going to focus on the second aspect.


The direct disobedience that manifested the wickedness of their (our) hearts is not all there is to it. The repulsiveness of sin is seen in their (our) treasonous hearts: "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."

I hope that sends chills down your spine. Hear the deceitful treason in the desires of their heart. "I want to be great! I want to have renown! I want to be feared among all the people! I want a great name!

"I... want... glory!!!"

And here friends, we see the fountainhead of all the wickedness of our heart spoken of in Friday's post. Our most fundamental problem is that we want glory for ourselves. And yet we're not worthy of it. And we cannot take any glory for ourselves without stealing it from the One who is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.

From just a fraction of His revelation, listen to Yahweh's passion for His own Name:
  • Exodus 9:16 - But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.
  • Isaiah 29:23 - They will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob And will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
  • Isaiah 42:8 - I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another!
  • Isaiah 48:11 - For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
  • Malachi 1:11 - For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations," says Yahweh of hosts.
Does the Babel-onians' treason give you chills yet? "Let us make for ourselves a name!"

And oh feel the thunder of God's voice and the fire of His eyes when He answers these traitors, when He declares how zealously He will pursue glory for His name! Feel the force of these declarations! "No! Your name will not be great among the nations! My name will be great among the nations! My name will be proclaimed in all the earth! My name will be sanctified! I will by no means give My glory to you!"
So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth.
This is how God reacts to pride, to those who, unworthy though we be, would steal His glory! And friends, He will not delay to do the same to us who would gather together to build towers to heaven to receive glory for ourselves, to be praised, to be adulated, to be affirmed, to be made much of.

Oh how pervasive pride is in all of us! Oh how we love people to be impressed by our clever thoughts and words! How we love them to see our accomplishments and praise us for them! How we love them to see even our progress by grace in the Christian life, which is not of ourselves (1Cor 4:7), though we would receive glory for it! Oh how we love the praise of men, and desire to make for ourselves a name!

This is your heart. This is, straight from the mouth of Almighty God, what your heart is. Oh, may it keep you near the cross!

How can you believe when you receive glory from one another,
and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?

- John 5:44 -

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