Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Genesis 11:1-4, Proverbs 13:20
Consider this: the text you just read is the next thing to be documented after God flooded the earth and left Noah and his family as the remnant. But a lot of time has passed. Chapter 10 of Genesis outlines all of Noah’s sons and the tribes that descended from them. These tribes and clans all shared a common heritage and language, and the world as they knew it was unified.
But the next thing we know, these people have turned their hearts from God. Their forebearers were the only people on the planet whom God had spared from His destruction, yet they are now more concerned with their own reputation than that of the One who rescued them. They betray their own pride and arrogance in their expressed motive, to avoid being “scattered over the face of the whole earth.” This is in direct rebellion to what God told them to do after the flood: “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1).
Was there no one who remembered? Was there no one with the spiritual fortitude to stand up and say, “This is wrong. It’s against God’s command to remain in one spot and make a name for ourselves! We’re supposed to fill the earth!” Surely the people knew whom they were rebelling against. The same One who had the power to destroy the whole world over sin, yet who out of grace and mercy spared their grandfather’s family alone—this is the One they would oppose? Would no one remember?
Perhaps there was no one to speak up against this course of action. But it reminds me of Proverbs 13:20. This group of people who thought they could stand up to God were just foolish. Wisdom always acts in accordance with the will of God, and the foolish suffer harm. In this case, the unity and commonality they experienced was now gone, and the one thing they tried to avoid was now their reality.
Consider those who surround you and in what direction they are influencing you. Just because the crowd around you says one thing doesn’t make it right. Know the will of God, and weigh the will of the crowd against that. Then go with God.