Every mid October, our family has a pumpkin carving contest. My husband, our 3 kids, and myself all choose designs, carve pumpkins, light them, and then post a picture on social media giving our friends and family the ability to vote for their favorite without knowing who carved which pumpkin. There's no prize at the end but the victory of saying that your design had won. As the kids get older, the designs get more intricate and every year we try to "one-up" each other. This year as I even went as far as the prideful moment that the picture I posted of them got voted on more than anyone else's pictures. A fleeting moment of victory!
Although this is just a fun family tradition that we do, it does bring to mind the many times and ways that we as humans try to not just "one-up" each other, but also "one-up" God. The story of the tower of Babel is just that kind of story.
After the flood, God told Noah and his children to fill the earth with people again. But the people stayed together and they united. In being united they realized that together they could accomplish anything THEIR hearts desired. So they decided to construct a temple to the heavens. In their hearts was a longing and desire to "one-up" God and show Him what they could do. They built for themselves their own personal kingdom and in doing so, continued the spread of evil that began with Adam and Eve. This continuation of sin with this tower troubled God and He came down and confused their language and spread the people across the earth. In God's judgement of their hearts desire to be great, He marked them with mercy. The mercy in the story is that His judgement brought a slowing of sin. Can you imagine the type of world we would live in today if for thousands of years, men were united in heart and language to accomplish all of their desires!
Yet, God had a plan. Thousands of years later, at Pentecost, God tore down the language barriers so that the people would scatter and make great His son's name! The name of Jesus. Take time this week to point your kids towards God's better plan: His plan not for people to reach up to Him, but His plan to reach down to people by sending His son Jesus!