A Higher Way: Learning from the Tower of Babel

In our world today social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube have provided individuals with unprecedented opportunities for self-promotion and to build a platform for their fame.

The desire to be known, admired, and celebrated can lead people down a path that excludes God and His guidance. In the Bible’s account of the Tower of Babel, we find a powerful cautionary example about the dangers of seeking fame while ignoring God.

In our journey of faith, we are going to run into some crossroads. Here we have to decide, are we going to seek our own ways or will we follow God’s higher path. The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 serves as a powerful reminder that God’s ways are higher than our ways – even when we think we have arrived at the place with our tower of learning that we don’t need God.

Abraham’s calling comes immediately after the account of the Tower of Babel. God will always step in when a mankind tries to build a world that excludes Him. They wanted to build a society for their own name and to glorify humanity. They replaced God with a worship of themselves and the heavens. The actually meaning was not to build a tower to the heavens but one with the heavens on top or the signs of the zodiac.

In our contemporary culture, many people yearn for fame, and there is an ever-growing cry of “notice me.” The pursuit of fame can often become a fantasy, a dream that hinges on the number of likes on YouTube or the influence one can exert. As Christians, we must remember that our worth primarily stems from our identity in Christ.

Not all fame is wrong. There is a fame fantasy and there is a fame realism. If you are pursuing your God-given destiny and the result is you have become famous, that is not some fantasy, that is actually part of your destiny and there will be a grace from God to carry the weight and this notoriety. Certainly Abraham achieved a level of fame like few men that ever lived. His goal though was simple to obey God, not to be famous. If your goal is to be famous, fame will become a false God and destroy you.

At the Tower of Babel the people made the mistake of thinking because they ruled God out of their plans He did not exist or care. It was at this point that God’s divine grace is seen with the calling of Abraham.

A few valuable lessons we can learn from the Tower of Babel are:

  1. The pursuit of self-glory will distract us from seeking God and His purpose for our lives. The people of Babylon, led by a man named Nimrod, sought to build a tower that would bring glory to themselves, an act of defiance against God’s will. To this day the name Nimord is used to refer to someone who is rebellious and often a tyrant.
  2. God will not allow man to build a lasting society that will exclude Him. God watched what was happening, and when it had gone too far, He stepped in and God confused their language, leading to the dispersion of people and the abandonment of the tower’s construction. The unity of the people at Babel was based on excluding God from their affairs. They aimed to create a society independent of His influence. Their unity led to a concentration of evil, demonstrating that unity without God’s values can lead to corruption and destruction.
  3. God’s ways are always higher than our ways. Isaiah 55:9 reminds us that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours. The Tower of Babel illustrates how humans can confuse bigness with importance, striving for significance apart from God. When we prioritize our own ways over God’s, we risk losing sight of His divine plan.
  4. The tower and the city that Nimrod built represent the sin of pride—an attempt to gain security and significance apart from God. This is a universal struggle, as we often seek fame to validate our worth. However, the more important God is in our lives, the less important fame becomes.
  5. Humility before God is the key to being raised up. James 4:10 tells us, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” It is so much better to have God lift us up than for us to lift ourselves up. Jesus taught that true blessedness comes from being “poor in spirit”, acknowledging our need for God. Our reliance on God, rather than our own achievements, is the antidote to the pride that fueled the Tower of Babel.
  6. Building your life on God’s word ensures that your life will stand the ups and downs of life. Psalm 127:1 emphasizes that unless the Lord builds the house, our efforts are in vain. The Tower of Babel teaches us the importance of building our lives on God’s foundation. He is our strong tower of safety and security (Proverbs 18:10).

The Genesis account of The Tower of Babel serves as a reminder of the dangers of seeking our own glory, our own fame, and pursuing paths without God’s guidance. The smart thing to do is to build our lives on the foundation of His love and wisdom, so we can experience true significance and purpose that transcends human achievements.