I heard on a documentary that it is thought that Neanderthals lived side by side with Homo sapiens from which modern man has descended. There are plenty of people around today, but not one Neanderthal. The reason they gave for their demise was not their lack of intelligence – in fact they were more intelligent than Homo Sapiens – but it is thought they were not as sociable – operating individually, not communally. That was their downfall.
It seems we are hard-wired to be gregarious. This has a social advantage. So in Genesis 11 v 4 they started to build a city with a mighty tower.
God couldn’t believe his eyes. He had to take a closer look. He made us sociable creatures, to give us all the blessings that come from that, but these people had taken the blessing and turned it round to defy God. There was going to be no balance of power, no limit to their potential.
Was God worried that he’d be out of a job? That they wouldn’t need him anymore? I’m sure it concerned God that these people with so much power, so much potential for evil, and so little wisdom would have the opportunity to create mayhem on the planet. But I suspect that his greatest concern was how it would affect the little people, the ordinary folk. It’s hard to imagine that a place with such schemes for greatness would have much of an agenda for human rights. Were they all going to do a fair share of the hard graft of getting those bricks up to the top of the tower? And where else could the exploited ones go? It was unthinkable on every level.
It’s strange to think that God, who has such a desire that ‘men should dwell together in unity’ (Psalm 133) should remove their means of communication. But I don’t think the story ends there. In Acts 2 v 4 – 12 Babel is reversed! Suddenly, they were given the ability to understand one another, even though they came from different lands, as the Holy Spirit descended and enabled them.
Back to building a kingdom – isn’t that what we are meant to be doing, empowered by the Holy Spirit, with unlimited potential, with God himself as our ‘strong and mighty tower’. What amazes me is that God actually trusts us with all that potential. Read Ephesians if you don’t believe how capable you are! The book is full of what we could achieve, if only we believed the half of it! The people back in Genesis 11 were set to do mighty things for themselves. They were a driving force. Imagine what we could do for God’s kingdom with that level of motivation, coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit. What is stopping us???