August 18, 2006
What Shall We Build?
This morning I read about the tower of Babel. I have never read the entire Old Testament and am thoroughly enjoying it and am feeling blessed every day by it. I also read some notes along with the chapter and in studying them I was surprised to find a different way of looking at humankind's goal of world peace, living in harmony with one another almost as an end to itself. God had told Noah that he and his descendants should multiply and spread about the world, but generations later the Babel inhabitants decided to stay put and build a tower to the top of heaven to make a name for themselves instead. (It is amazing to me when I read of things that God saw as sinful, that we now think are perfectly healthy for us to do or hope to achieve. Who doesn't think it's great to make a name for themselves?) The Babel people evidently set about worshipping their collective power to create and God knew that they would continue along this selfish path rather than turn to and live for Him, so he confused their speech, gave them different languages and spread them about the earth. He was certainly not going for our definition of world peace there, so what in the world was He driving at? It seems that He was trying to make people less dependent on one another and their collective strength and turn their dependency back upon Him - the omniscient, all-powerful One. It's not solidarity among people God wants, it's oneness with Him. And through that oneness, His miracles will provide ultimate and perfect world peace beyond anything we can strive for or conceive. How can and why would we trust ourselves above Omniscience?
I think about my slow evolution toward God and look at all the times I thought my own power was sufficient. This last year I've had big opportunities to rely solely on the power of God and what I've seen is staggering. I couldn't have imagined the power of God to change and create good in my life...I couldn't even have imagined the level of "good" possible in order to aim for it accurately in the first place. I know there are some things I see as "good" and I have been forced to change that to see some of God's idea of "good". And it soothes my soul. I'm seeing faith as letting go of my own definitions and following God. He's a better definer than I. Sometimes I see it like the child-parent relationship. What my kids see as good and approprite is so very often not good and I hope they'll trust my definition so I can steer them correctly until their eyes are opened further. I know that's what God wants from me, to trust Him exclusively. I am so excited to see what He'll do next in our lives. I know it's greater than a tower and richer than any human goal, no matter how well-intentioned. Because God is building something perfect, and I - alone or with others - cannot .