Genesis 11:1-4: ‘Hallowed be thy Name’.

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.  They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’” NIV

It was, apparently, Thomas a Kempis who coined the phrase: ‘Man proposes, but God disposes.’  Solomon said effectively the same thing, in slightly more words (Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.).

I believe it is broadly true to say that it has been the way with builders of cities and towers, ever since Babel, that they want to ‘’make a Name’’ for themselves. They want to leave a legacy to the world which has to do with their name and their fame. There is something in sinful nature that wants the glory of me! For those of us in regular ministry in the church, whatever form it may take, we could do with regularly (although not obsessively) examining ourselves: why are we doing this? Who is it for really? Whether it’s city construction or church building we can be doing it for ourselves.                            In the best of people motives can be mixed.

I have often prayed for myself, and my fellow leaders, that the Lord will write ‘’hallowed be your name’’ on our hearts – that we will not be like king Saul, who built a monument to himself, or like Absalom, who erected a pillar to himself. May we have a desire for the glory of God alone.

Let us learn the lesson of Babel, where something significant got built, but God was displeased with it.

PRAYER: Lord, please will you continually purify our hearts that we may bring acceptable offerings to you.