Men are builders, they love to build: the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Washington Monument of Washington D.C. are only some of the examples. Children like to build with blocks and adults build their own homes and chase after their own dreams.
The builders of the Tower of Babel were a group that openly rebelled against God’s injunction to scatter and populate the earth. They wanted to stay together and build a tower to mark their place on the earth. There were three dimensions to the project: horizontally, they were building a city to spread out far and wide so as to accommodate more people; vertically, they wanted to reach heaven with the height of the tower; and generationally, they wanted their descendants to know about their accomplishments so that they would not be spread out over the earth. Although they thought they were reaching the heavens, God had to come down to take a look! They never reached heaven, despite their sincere wishes.
However, another building reached the heavens, it was the altar built by Abram. The altar was not to commemorate human achievements but built as a memorial for God’s appearance to him. It was about God, not about man. It was built to worship God and pray to Him, it was a request for His presence to come. It was to show how great God is and not how great mankind is. For Abram, building an altar is a priority over building his own tents to live in. It is in humility that mankind worships the Creator. The lower one goes in humility, the higher one may go near God.
The Beatitudes are a collection of teachings about the blessed life. Happiness is not something we may achieve but rather as a result of a heart-attitude. It is not like the tower builders, trying to do something in accomplishing a goal. It is like the altar builder, Abram, who was humble enough to receive blessings from the Lord. There are two kinds of persons in this world, the achievers and the receivers. The latter group would win in the end for all the good things of the world are received, not achieved. It is true for salvation, the Word, or the Spirit; it is also true for all the good qualities such as love, joy, peace (fruit of the Spirit). Paul reminds us that all things are received, not earned, so none should boast.
Are you an achiever or a receiver? What are you striving for at this time of your life? Would you like to receive it from the Lord? He owns everything and has the key to the heavenly storehouse. Give up tower building, begin a life of altar building now. When you go before the altar, forgive and reconcile with those who have offended you and God will be pleased to appear to you and receive your offerings.
Ps 4:1-8 Gen 11:1-13:5 Matt 5:1-26 Prov 1:24-28