“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:4 (ESV)
The desire for recognition is strong. Whether it is “likes” on Facebook, views on YouTube, the applause of the crowd, or honor from one’s peers, it is human nature to want to be significant. The desire itself is not evil, but it can drive us to do evil things.
The people gathered at Babel and built a great tower to become famous. The problem was that God had told them to be fruitful and muliply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). But they disobeyed the commandment to make a monument and name for themselves.
The craving for self-exaltation originated with Lucifer who desired to be as the Most High (Isaiah 14:12-14). In his play Henry VIII, William Shakespeare wrote:
“Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition.
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?”
And the Bible warns us:
“Pride goes before destruction,Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)
And a haughty spirit before a fall.”
The list is long of men and women who were lifted up in pride–who became a legend in their own minds–only to be brought down. God humbled the people at Babel by confusing their languages and scattering them throughout the earth.
So what do we do with the desire to be significant? Jesus told His disciples:
“Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.”Mark 10:43 (NKJV)
This is the greatness that Jesus modeled for us. And guess what? God has exalted Him and given Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9-11). So how can we imitate His example and improve our serve?
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