Summary: As farcical as was the building of the tower of Babel, it is not one wit more so than for any man to attempt to gain heaven by his own efforts or good works.
“THE FOLLY OF MAN”
"Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.
"Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.
"And they said, "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 whole earth."
"But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
"Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
"Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
Genesis 11:1-9 (NKJV)
Over the years the mind of man has concocted many strange and absurd schemes to attain heaven but none more ridiculous than the tower of Babel. As farcical as this project was, it is not one wit more so than for any man to attempt to gain heaven by his own efforts or good works.
I. The sin of their undertaking: leaving God out of their lives. "…let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower…."
A disastrous end is assured when man leaves God out of his life. This is true whether it be an attempt to build a tower to heaven or to harvest an abundant crop with no thought given to praising God for His blessings.
An example of the latter is the rich farmer of Luke chapter 12. "And he said: This is what I will do: I will tear now my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, Thou fool! This night thy soul shall be required of you, then whose shall these things be, which you have provided? So is the man who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:18-21
II. The folly of their undertaking: to attempt to reach heaven by human ingenuity and effort.
"There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25.
"For my grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10
III. The inevitable result of their undertaking: failure! The exact opposite of what the Babelites sought came to pass. We read:
"So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth." Genesis 11:8-9.