After the flood, Noah’s descendants faced a series of questions. For example, “Where would they live?” and “How would their society function?” Under Noah’s great-grandson Nimrod, they decided to build a great city with a large tower, even though there was a mandate from God to spread out across the earth (Gen. 9:1). This was their stated goals:
“…Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the earth.” – Genesis 11:4 NKJV
There’s nothing inherently wrong with building a city, or a tower, but the issue was motive and their desire was “to make a name for themselves”. It would be a monument so large that future generations would know they’d taken charge of their own destiny. The story of “old-great-granddad building a boat” wouldn’t come close to the ones told of them. Then suddenly, as they worked and went about the project, people everywhere started speaking funny. Life-long friends could no longer understand each other…and the project ended.
For us, there’s also a need to be known, but we’re often tempted to focus on the wrong audience. Being known by God is far more important than being known by people. The tower generation got what they wanted. They did succeed in making a name for themselves, but it’s forever linked to rebellion and failure. Who’s your audience today, whose approval are you seeking, and what will you be known for?