Ever since Adam and Eve were tempted to be like God (Gen. 3:5), all subsequent people seem bent to trod down the same path. They want to prove they are holy. They want to show others that they are set apart. In Genesis 11, we read the epitome of the ridiculous notion that Mankind can reach God at Ground Zero of a place called the Tower of Babel.
At the Tower of Babel, Mankind attempts to reach God through their efforts and ingenuity. The people spoke in only one language (Gen. 11:1). Their desire was to maintain security, so they built a city in order not to be “dispersed over the face of the earth” (Gen. 11:4). Their desire was to be praised, so they built a tower to the heaven in order to “make a name for themselves” (Gen. 11:4). They desired to be comfortable and known. Instead of listening to God, they wanted to be God. If they could only build this tower high enough, they could reach the heights of heaven, storm the castle gates, and take over ownership and become the masters of their own fates.
The build was impressive. It was very high. Their skills and knowledge had increased vastly so that this tower was ever growing taller. For all its height and majesty, God still had to humble himself to see such a tiny, insignificant, pathetic structure. “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built” (Gen. 11:5).
For all their work to exalt themselves to the place of divinity, God still had to humble himself to behold their best, collaborative efforts.