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Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Genesis 11:1–9
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth, and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (NRSV)
One of the great things about living in the city is having the opportunity to see buildings built from the ground up. In the time that we have lived in our current apartment, we’ve seen houses moved, and a high-rise hotel and an arena built. Currently a new set of condos are being constructed near my daughter’s school. Every day we walk by in awe of the changes in the structure and how quickly it is going up! It is truly amazing.
The construction of the Tower of Babel would have been quite an accomplishment for the citizens of Babylon. Can you imagine building a city, and an enormous tower reaching toward the sky? They had to secure bricks and mortar, not to mention a plan for how to construct this city and tower, all without the advanced knowledge of architecture and the technologies that we have today. You can imagine the excitement and the pride they would have had over the building of this new place—it was a great achievement!
The problem, however, was this tower that was reaching towards the heavens was a monument built for themselves, not for God. It was essentially a monument celebrating their greatness, a way to show off to the world. This upset God, and God in return presented them with plenty of challenges.
I think we all sometimes fall into a tower trap, just like these people did. We also “build” monuments in our own lives—designer clothes, an expensive house, an impressive job. I know that I have experienced that—wanting the latest fancy handbag, a snazzy pair of shoes . . . the list goes on. Is it okay to have these things? Of course. But we need to make sure they don’t interfere with our relationship with God or take the place of God in our lives. We need to remember that all our blessings come from God!
Gracious God, I am incredibly grateful for all that you have blessed me with. Please help me to remember that all these gifts come from you, not from any tower that I have built. Amen.
Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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