The Tower of Babel: Part One

But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. ‘Look!’ he said. ‘The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! ’”— Genesis 11:5–6 (NLT)

Legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort . . . that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” There can be no doubt that when capable, like-minded people come together to work toward a common goal, they can usually accomplish great things. 

From the Miami Dolphins “No-Name Defense” in the 1970s to the forging of the Declaration of Independence, history is littered with examples of people coming together to achieve something great. Sadly, it’s also polluted by examples of people coming together for terrible, evil things. 

In today’s verse, we see an example of people working in unison to try to achieve their selfish, sinful goals. Did God really think man would reach heaven by building a tower? No. We know that the realm of heaven is not directly above us in the clouds. God wasn’t afraid of them reaching heaven and trying to overthrow Him or wreak havoc in His kingdom. No . . . His apprehension was because 1) He knew that at our core, man’s “heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt” (Jeremiah 17:9 ASV) and 2) there would be no end to the sinful and selfish deeds they would be able to accomplish together with their level of unity of effort and will.  

I equate it to children working perfectly in sync to reach the cookies Mom and Dad have hidden atop the pantry. They know they’re doing something they shouldn’t, but they want it anyway, and together they can and will succeed. You can also equate it to the unity and teamwork on display in heist films like Ocean’s 11, where criminals who are trying to rob a casino come together with a single vision and work as one to pull off their nefarious plan. 

This was something the Lord couldn’t allow. Tomorrow we’ll see how He shook things up and set in motion the establishment of the people of Israel and the eventual arrival of the One who would restore and redeem mankind. 

DIG: Can you think of both good and bad examples of people coming together to achieve something?

DISCOVER: What did mankind want? Why were they building this tower? What did they hope to achieve? Why did this effort concern the Lord?

DO: Contrast the families who came together to create the Tower of Babel with the family of faith established by God through Christ Jesus. Examine what the Lord has instructed His children to do with one accord, one heart, and one mind and see how it differs from what the families in Genesis 11 had set out to do. Identify the main difference and what differentiated these two types of families.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.