“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens…”
Barely a few generations after the flood, the patience had run out. Rather than waiting for the deliverance of God, in His own timetable, people decided they would take matters into their own hand. Why fill the earth and be patient for the LORD’s plan of salvation – we will build our way for heaven and we will make a name for ourselves by which we will be saved. And our plans will be good because we say so.
This is the offense of Babel. It is the sin of seeking to be one’s own savior. It is the sin of trying to achieve salvation and life via one’s own work. And God is not One to simply let idols stand. He goes and He confuses languages, introduces all sorts of disunity and strife among mankind – sets the stage for so many wars and fights. And why?
Because all semblance of peace and unity that we sinful people can make – it’s not the real thing. It doesn’t last. It still ends in sin and death, no matter how pretty or majestic it looks. We cannot work our way to God. Rather, God, Himself must come down to us. Jesus must come, and He must be the One to declare Peace, a peace won and earned by His own work of salvation.
And likewise, God will topple our idols today. He will bring our own works of pride to naught. Not because He’s mean or petty, but because He will not let anything stand in the place of Jesus. Because He is determined to be your Savior – and so He will be. This is His promise to you in Christ Jesus.