A Test

Kathryn Tack, Guest Writer, South Barrington | March 30, 2023

“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.”  But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”  

Genesis 11:4-6

I’ll never forget the first time I defied my father. When I was a little girl, he had certain rules, and one of those was coming right when he called. My dad always wanted to know where we were, and he always wanted to know that we were safe. Yet, one night, while playing “kick the can,“ I decided to listen to my own desires rather than obey my dad when he called. My friends wanted me to stay. I felt important, and I wanted to do what I wanted to do. Before I knew it, everyone was scattering as my dad walked up the street, reached out his hand, and whistled in command. With a swift turn, he stood waiting. How embarrassing. Not that my dad came, but that I gave him a reason to come find me.

Before today’s passage in Genesis, God had instructed  His people to spread out and populate the earth. In direct violation of this mandate, they decided to stay together and make a name for themselves. They wanted to establish their own importance in the sight of humankind and God. But God put an end to this project, confused their languages and helped assist them in obeying His command.

Imagine the potential that would have been lost if God hadn’t scattered the people. We would have had a universal language with only human-made “stairways to heaven” to draw attention to ourselves rather than bringing glory to God. In our case, we have the Word of God to give us the wisdom to make better decisions. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and discipline,” writes Solomon in Proverbs 1.  

That night while playing with my friends was not only a test for me, but I was testing my dad. Thank you, Dad, for being a strong leader. He helped me understand that this life is not about my own importance or plans. When I attempt to thwart God’s plan or put myself in the place of God, it never works. Thankfully, God’s plan will happen whether I build a tower or not.

Next Steps

  •  As one who teaches leadership for a living, I want to cultivate the kind of dependence on God that others can see in real-life situations. Such faith is not cultivated during a crisis but before a crisis. It’s developed during routine days. A leader who cultivates such faith will be a role model of steadfast dependence on God that no follower will forget.
  • Is your faith in God such that others see Him working through you on routine and nonroutine days?
  • What is one thing you could do each day to cultivate your dependence on God and demonstrate that dependence so others will see an example they could follow?