A few days ago, a friend of mine, Zach Anton, shared something at his wedding reception. He was thanking the room of friends and family that had gathered to celebrate his marriage and to acknowledge all these people he quoted his grandfather:
"There is no such thing as a self made man."
Other than being extremely eloquent, I thought it was really poignant. In fact I've been thinking about it over the past few days. The Prequel text for the day really underscored that thought with bright red lines.
What I realized today is that, while there is no such thing as a self-made man, but there certainly is the illusion of being self-made. And when you are under that delusion, things can get dangerous.
The two passages I read today were the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 and The calling of Abram in Genesis 12. The Tower of Babel describes people who decide to come together and build a tower to the heavens in order to "make a name for [themselves]" (Gen 11.4) and God comes to confuse their speech to stop them from accomplishing this. God's reason for this? If he doesn't, "nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them" (Gen 11.6). Which at first seems like God is just messing with them, but Babel is actually a precursor of Babylon who later became one of the most violently brutal nations on Earth, so God stops them.
Then There's Abram who is the exact opposite. He doesn't seek His own glory. God chooses him and says, "I will bless you and make your name great" (Gen 12.2). And then the great story of Abram/Abraham begins. So it's a comparison of self-made v. God-made people. Here are some interesting intersecting points.
Babel v. Abram
We'll make ourselves v. God will make you a great nation
Many United to make Themselves great name v. One man obeying a call
God confuses and scatters v. God strengthens and multiplies
Babel = Babylon = Wiped from the Earth
Abram = Israel/Judah = Still exists
Where is Jesus in the Old Testament?
This is why Jesus is so amazing. Again we don't see Jesus lurking in the shadows here, or that he is the one calling to Abram. What we see here is why we love Jesus so much, or really why we love Abram so much and are inspired by him, it's because he resembles Jesus in this small way. Jesus had so many opportunities to seize power and make his name great rather than follow God's plan. When he was tempted by Satan in Matthew 4, Satan says he will give him all the nations if he bows down. In John 6 the people tried to make him King by force. But Jesus says no. He refuses to make himself great, or even letting people make him great. He only allows God to make him great.
My question for myself is do I trust God to make me, the way Jesus did, or do I try to make my own name great? Do I quietly wait on God while I obey his word to lift me up when he desires? Or do I try to toot my own horn, put my accomplishments on social media and count my likes as my ego slowly inflates?
God confuses those out to make themselves great. And he establishes forever those who wait on him. Because there is no such thing as a self made man.