Strengths. We all have them; however we get into trouble when we don’t realize where those strengths originated.
This week I was reading in Genesis 11 about the Tower of Babel. At one time the whole earth had one language and one speech. That would eliminate the language elective at school! However, this convenience from God was abused. The people decide to organize, build a city, as well as a tower that would reach the heavens. In other words, they wanted to be like God.
They took advantage of their advantage.
That didn’t make the Lord happy. He said, “Indeed, the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Genesis 11:6). It didn’t take the Almighty long to thwart the man-made plan. He confused the language and scattered the people all over the earth. That area of land was later called “Babel,” for obvious reasons.
Fast forward to Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit makes His grand entrance. After hearing the roar of the “rushing mighty wind” from heaven, a crowd gathers, made up of Jews from other nations. On a normal day, it would sound like babbling coming from the large gathering, due to the different tongues represented. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, is at the pulpit, presenting his first sermon, post-resurrection. Miraculously, everyone can understand what he’s saying in their own language, and for a moment, there’s no more babbling. A miracle!
As I compared these two passages side-by-side, I realized that the first time God confused the language because the people used this gift to glorify themselves, not God. They wanted to be like God. In Acts, it was God who received the glory, glory the people of Babel tried to steal from him, when he chose to “un-confuse” the language for a moment and make the Gospel message understandable to all. It would be like taking a trip around the world and comprehending everything that is said in every country. It would be supernatural—no other way to explain it.
Have you ever tried to build a Tower of Babel? In other words, Have you ever glorified yourself rather than God?
This past week, I caught myself building a tower. I wasn’t recognized for something I work very hard at, and began to tell a person about all the time I spend doing it. Brick-by-brick, I was listing every task I complete each week—babbling and building my tower up, but my tower looked more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa than a strong tower. The glory should have gone to God. I should have humbled myself, knowing that any giftedness I possess comes from above, and whatever I do, “I do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people” (Colossians 3:23).
When we start boasting, we’re stealing the glory from the One who should receive all the glory. We’re building a tower.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to press into our giftedness.
It’s perfectly fine to realize who we were created to be.
It’s acceptable to appreciate the way we were designed.
But we did not make any of this happen. It’s all God’s doing.
He is the strong tower.
We are his beloved creatures.
He should be exalted (Psalm 150:6).
Today, I want to give God all the glory for who I am, for everything he’s allowed me to accomplish, and for the creative gift he entrusted to me. I know I am nothing without Him.
Lord, whenever I start to build a tower, please tear it down. AMEN.