We spent this past weekend in Chicago; my kids wanted to ride the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier at night. They wanted to experience overlooking the lights of the city. We had several commitments throughout the weekend, including worshiping at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago (what a great experience!), that kept us occupied during the evening hours. We finished at Antioch at 9:40 pm on Sunday; the Navy Pier closes at 10 p.m. We rushed across town to ride the Ferris wheel and filled the final carriage for the evening. As we exited the pier, the Sea Dog Boat Cruise worker approached us. She offered an extreme discount for the final tour of the evening. Even though it was nearly 11 p.m., we decided to take the 75 minute architectural tour.
As we floated down the Chicago River, we were overwhelmed by engineering feats of the last hundred years. The river itself was reversed for sanitation reasons; the project resulted in the connecting of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi basin. Two of world’s tallest buildings are visible from the river. The newer Trump Tower actually touches the river; a special cement was developed to keep the weight of the building from sinking into the river. The infamous Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is a highlight of the tour. Dozens of other buildings tower the 38 moveable bridges. We were certainly in awe of such grandeur. As we maneuvered back toward the pier, I remembered that I was preaching on Genesis 11 this Sunday.
(Genesis 11:4 NIV) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
We live in a world of such city-builders looking to make a name for themselves. In fact, we celebrate efforts that break records. The Trump Tower was scaled down after the 2001 attacks; previously it was slated as the world’s tallest building. So what is so bad about building tall buildings? Why was God not pleased with man’s tenacity for accomplishment in Genesis 11? Why does he break up the party at Babel?
On Sunday, we will explore the misfortune of Babel. Mankind was striving for security apart from God, he was looking for notoriety based on his own achievement. God steps in and redirects him toward His purposes. I hope you will join us as we delve into this ancient story. May we consider our own striving for independence and fame apart from God.