In Genesis 11, the people were attempting to build a tower to make a name for themselves which resulted in the people being scattered. By attempting to build the tower, they were seeking glory for themselves, rather than glory for God. They were trying to build themselves up rather than living for God.
When you look around today, it seems like there are a lot of towers being built up all over the world. Perhaps we have been scattered all over and we speak different languages, but it did not rid us of this desire to be like God—the same desire that plagued Adam & Eve in the garden. People are still trying to get noticed. People are still trying to build up. People are still trying to live for themselves rather than for God.
Today, look at your life and check for any towers. Are you seeking glory? Are you trying to get noticed? It is okay to get some attention, but we should always be pointing to Christ. To God be the glory.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NIV]
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” – Revelation 4:11 [NIV]
Recently, as we were sitting in church awaiting the start of the morning worship service, my daughter was looking at the church bulletin. She saw the names of those who were serving that week listed on the last page and she said, “Mom, isn’t that so cool that your name is there?” Then she circled my name. Although recognition is important, those who serve cannot be given the most recognition—attention should be on Jesus. It is to Him we must always point. I took my pen, crossed out the names on the bulletin and wrote, “Jesus,” in large letters. Then I reminded her that we were there for Him, not for our own glory. That with everything we do, it’s all about Him. It’s all for God’s glory.
Too often we can get caught up with the recognition game. We start to get acknowledged for some great thing we did. It feels good. Our hard work paid off. Our time and dedication have been noticed. People are paying us honor for our achievements. I am not against a pat on the back, an award, a gift card, a name on a paper. What I do see as a problem is when we start to live for our name to be in the spotlight. It is a problem when we aim to get attention, and we do something so as to have eyes on us instead of on Jesus. It is a problem when it becomes all about us.
Today, remind yourself that everything you do is for God’s glory. Is there an area of your life when you are trying to stand out? Are you standing out for yourself or to promote the Gospel? Is there something that God has done for you, but you have taken the credit? Let us give God the glory He alone deserves. No one can take His glory—it is His.
God used Moses as well as Aaron to perform many signs and wonders to get Pharaoh to let His people leave Egypt. During that time, Pharaoh brought forth his magicians to show his power. Exodus 7:8 is the start of the signs and wonders, and it actually begins with God saying that when Pharaoh says to “perform a miracle,” then throw down the staff and it will be a snake. The staff gets tossed down, leaving us to understand that Pharaoh started the ball rolling by asking for the sign. This act by Pharaoh is to suggest that he and his magicians could compete and be shown to be more powerful than God.
As we continue reading onward, the “plagues” start coming. At the beginning, the magicians of Pharaoh were demonstrating that they could do the same things with “secret arts.” However, as time went on, the magicians could not compete. When the gnats came, they realized they couldn’t, and so they said, “This is the finger of God,” acknowledging God as the source of the signs and wonders (Exodus 8:19). As the signs and wonders continued due to the hardened heart of Pharaoh, the furnace soot was tossed in the air to bring about dust over all of Egypt and boils on the people. At this point, “The magicians could not stand before Moses” (Exodus 9:11). They went from being able to perform the same actions to not even being able to be present.
We face many things each day. Sometimes we are like these magicians. We put ourselves in the position of God, but we soon find that we cannot deliver all of the time. We are human and we can only go so far. It is important to acknowledge where the true power comes from as these magicians did. As we start acknowledging God we soon find that He is El Elyon, “God Most High” and El Shaddai “God Almighty.” In all reality, there was a time when we were not able to be present before Him. Thankfully God is gracious and has given each of us a way to be present before Him through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
There is a verse in Genesis that truly shows us something that we so often neglect. Genesis 41:16 is Joseph’s response to Pharaoh’s request for assistance. He said, “I cannot do it” (NIV) or “it is beyond my power to do this” (NLT). The Message translates this as “not I, but God.” No matter the translation, Joseph clearly tells Pharaoh that it is beyond his power, but that God can do it.
- “God will”
- “God can”
- “God shall”
The Bible says that what is impossible for man is possible with God (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:28). Here we see Joseph declaring this to Pharaoh. A lot of people will agree with the “God will,” “God can,” and even “God shall.” There are many levels of faith, but people do tend to agree with these statements many times. The “not I” part is the hardest part. We don’t like to admit we are powerless. We don’t like to admit we cannot do something. We don’t like to say that we are weak. This is a “me, myself, and I” world. Why say, “Not I”? We have the technology, the resources, and the abilities. We like to be in control.
Today I challenge you to look at your life and examine your weaknesses. Can you admit to yourself that you have these weaknesses? Can you say, “Not I, but God”? Paul tells the Corinthians that he boasts in his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:30, 2 Corinthians 12:9). I pray that you, too, may boast in your weaknesses and say, “Not I, but God.”