Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building. Gen. 11:5
Saturday night, Clay and I had burgers and fries at 11 pm. Out. Granted, that wasn’t newsworthy back when we were dating and in college, but now that we’re in our mid-40’s, it’s somewhat out of the ordinary. There were 2 reasons we did it – we were hungry, and we were with our “What doth hinder us?” friends.
When with these friends, that question often drives decision-making. For instance, the weekend before this one, we drove 40 miles just to eat dinner, and went to two Easter services together. Why? Because there was nothing to keep us from it. That philosophy has spurred us on to other adventures, too; things like chasing fried bubblegum at the State Fair of Texas with In-N-Out burgers, accepting a 5 1/2 foot stuffed Rastafarian banana from a stranger, hurtling our bodies down slides made of ice, waiting 2 hours for a table at restaurant whose fajitas didn’t even sizzle, and buying, on impulse, a donkey and a marionette named Pedro.
Those have been fun times. But, I have to admit, if we lived by that philosophy all the time, we’d get ourselves in quite a mess. We would have dangerously high cholesterol, for one thing. Clearly, a “What doth hinder us?” mentality could get out of hand.
That’s what happened in Genesis 11. After the Flood, God had told Noah and his sons to spread out over the earth (Gen. 9:7). But as the people were going, they found a good spot and decided to settle, instead. They didn’t want to spread out over the earth. They wanted to stick together and make a name for themselves. So they made bricks and started building a city with a tower that would reach to the sky.
God didn’t like that plan, though, so He gave them all different languages and scattered them Himself. The Bible doesn’t say it, but I’m thinking they were probably pretty mad about that.
It seems to me that most of us are still building towers today. Not the kind with actual bricks that reach to the sky, necessarily, but the kind that say, “This is my life and I’m gonna do what I want.” We settle. Instead of following God’s direction, we build towers made out of relationships, careers, status, entertainment, abilities, and our own plans. We stack bricks of immorality, pride, selfishness, judgment, and contentedness. Before we know it, the question, “What doth hinder us?” becomes, “Oh no, what doth hinder us?”
I don’t like it when God tears down my tower. But then I think about the alternative, where I settle and keep on building the dumb thing. I don’t want to settle; where’s the adventure in that?
So I’m figuring out that, even though it can be painful, one of God’s greatest acts of mercy in our lives is to tear down the towers we build. There are different ways that He does that, but the bottom line is that He’s in charge; it’s His right to mess up anything that doesn’t match up with His plans.
What towers have you built that He has torn down? What towers are you building now?