Genesis 11:1-9 | 1 Peter 5:5-6
Would you rather have God for you or against you?
Have you read the story of the Tower of Babel? It’s in chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis. All the people spoke the same language, and worked together very well. Only…they were proud and decided not to obey God.
You see, after the flood (in Genesis 9), God commanded Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Yet all the people stayed in one place. The Scripture tells us they didn’t want to spread out over the face of the earth, as God commanded them.
Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”Genesis 11:4 NLT
So they cooked up this plan to build a huge tower. They thought it would make them famous and somehow keep them together. Did they think they could impress God enough to get their way? And why were they so opposed to spreading out? Wouldn’t they have enjoyed some more space for themselves?
Maybe the people of Shinar would rather have stayed together and built a tremendous kingdom, which would let them rely on themselves instead of being at the mercy of God.
Was that pride? Yes, it was.
And as you may know, God opposes the proud. How can you keep God on your team? Humility.
And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.1 Peter 5:5b-6 NLT
Putting on humility is like putting on a pair of pants. When we walk in humility (which is really freedom from pride), God promises to lift us up in honor. How great is it that He wants to give us honor!
Think of humility this way: exchanging your toxic thought patterns (like the ones that try to convince us we need to strive for, defend, or prove something) for God’s soul-nourishing habits of love and service. It allows you to relax, not having to prove anything to anyone, because God will do it for you.
Otherwise, you can keep doing your own thing, depending on yourself–proud of your own accomplishments while insecure about everything–and working against the strongest one in the Universe. Which will you choose?
Questions for Group Discussion
- Are there specific situations in which you need to dress in humility? Do you need to ask for help from God, parents, friends?
- In what areas of your life have you been trying to depend on yourself so you won’t be dependent on God? Could it be your pride that is keeping you from trusting God with those? How might those areas look differently if you let go of striving and gave your worries and cares to God?
- How might you take the spotlight off of trying to accomplish what you want and shift it to how you might serve others?
Application: How the Mighty Have Fallen
On some level, people love to see a hero fall. Maybe it’s because it shows that heroes are only human.
This is a “current events” assignment: Look at current headlines, and find 5 news stories about celebrities failing.
- Arrests or jail time
- And so much more!
Then answer these questions:
- Why do you think these stories are so easy to find?
- Would you say these celebrities are prideful?
- Did you read of any situations in which a person’s fame made their situation worse?