It's a sad story, because it gives us a realistic look at who we are as human beings. Not "basically good" people who sometimes do bad things but are generally all right, but as rebellious, treasonous subjects who spit on the name of their King in hopes to steal the renown due Him and gain a name for ourselves.
But this study would be incomplete without reading the opening verses of the next chapter in Genesis. Be stunned by this.
- Genesis 12:1-3 - Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
But... wait a minute, though. What about how zealously Yahweh pursues glory for His own name, and how He won't give His glory to another? The sin of the Babel-onians was that they wanted to make a name for themselves, and thus steal Yahweh's glory. And now here, Yahweh is talking about making Abram's name great? What sense does this make?
This is so beautiful, friends. This is the wonderful glory of grace! Yahweh our God will have nothing of anyone trying to make their own name great. He will have no pretenders to His throne. But it is of great glory to Him to freely benefit those whom He chooses to benefit. How zealously does He declare that He pursues His own glory! And He does! But how lovely is it that He -- not shares His glory with, but -- is glorified in an unworthy moon worshiper from Ur of the... who? The Chaldeans! The Babylonians! Just a few generations later, Yahweh freely decides to grace a man with a great name from the very land in which He destroyed the plans of the people to make for themselves a great name!
That Yahweh makes His name great and zealously pursues His glory is a great and wonderful thing. It exalts Him high as Lord over all, a God to be feared and worshiped for His great glory. And we should love that about Him!
But that He purposes to make His name great by freely making an unworthy enemy's name great glorifies Him all the more as the God of grace!
Love this grace, Christian! For it has come to you and me. God has freely chosen us rebellious traitors to participate in this great drama of bringing all glory to Himself. Praise God! Grace has come to you and me!
- Titus 2:11 -