In this chapter, the author lays out for us some of the early events in the area of Babylon. In doing this he leaves us with a record of two opposing lifestyles. Let’s look at them and then look in the mirror. Mentioned first are the people on the Shinar Plain. You want to see an industrious group, just look at them! While everyone else in construction was using stones and cement, they had upgraded to bricks and tar. Not only was their city well built, it looked pretty sharp as well. Nice, smooth walls and subtle, earthy hues. So unlike their neighbors who still built with rocks, yuck! But they wanted more. They wanted to make a real name for themselves. They wanted Shinar on the map. And you read exactly what they did: they put up a brick version of the Empire State Building.
Second, we read about Terah. Who? You got it. If you aren’t careful you just cruise right on by him. But his story is worth noting. Terah had some sons, grandkids, and daughters-in-law. We don't know why, maybe it was that local skyscraper, but he decided to leave his hometown. He decided to literally pull up his tent stakes and get on the road. Did he sneak out quietly at night, so he wouldn’t be missed until morning? Did he hightail it alone, so as not to be burdened? No, look who went with him: his grandson, his son and his daughter-in-law. Terah took these three under his wing. The record doesn’t say he drug them out of town and forced them live somewhere else. It says they went together to Haran and they settled there.
In Genesis 11 we read of two different ways to live. There are two different ways to direct our attention. We can live like the people on the plain where everything we do is to bring the focus back to us. We want the glory, honor, and praise all for ourselves. We want our name on the map and we'll set our sights high to get it there too. Me, my, I, and myself are our favorite words.
Or, we can choose to live like Terah. Like him, we focus our attention on others. We choose to sacrifice so that others will be all right. We allow ourselves to leave the familiar and comfortable to make sure someone else is taken care of. We realize we are not a one-man- or one-woman-show and that life is not a stage. We work together and we settle down together. The choice is ours. But it is worth mentioning the outcome of our two examples. Those who tried to be their own hero fell from the heights. From the family of the one who took the lowly position would later come the Hero.