People want to be remembered. People want to know that after they pass from this scene of time, their name will be passed on. Whether that be through fame and celebrity or by becoming a household name, people want to know that in this life, their impact will be felt for generations. This is not new, this has not been invented in recent years but has been around since man left the Garden of Eden. The pyramids were built so everyone would know who the Pharaohs of Egypt were. The wonders of the ancient world were early attempts of making sure people would remember the past and the people who shaped it. One of the earliest records of name making (if not the earliest) is found in the Bible. In Genesis 11 we read of a master-plan to ensure that no one would be forgotten. Man had rebelled against GOD and wanted to glorify and worship himself. A tower would be constructed, bigger than anything ever seen before, to show the might and power of the human race. Mankind gathered together and said,
“Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)
The whole ordeal was self-serving, self-glorifying and self-indulgent. The repetition of the phrase (three times in two verses), “Let us” highlights the goal of the tower. It’s all about us. Mankind wanted to prove their independence from GOD. The didn’t need to submit, obey or worship GOD, they believed man was sufficient on his own. However, the irony is, despite their intentions, not one of them is mentioned by name in the Biblical text. Despite all their efforts to make a name for themselves, not one person is known today. The whole enterprise was a catastrophic failure. The Tower of Babel, found in Genesis 11, failed; it wasn’t even finished. The Babelites tried to express their separation from GOD through their own creation efforts, but as Solomon reminds us,
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
But the story doesn’t end there. In Genesis 12, after another genealogical list, we are introduced to Abram (later renamed Abraham). He is a man, we are told, who obeyed GOD with faith. When GOD calls Abram to leave his country he also promises Abram a few things. These include children (and lots of them) and blessings, but of notable importance is the next one, “I will bless you and make your name great,” (Genesis 12:2). Despite all the effort that went into building the Tower of Babel in order to make a name for the builders excluding GOD, we see here that GOD chooses who to make great, GOD chooses who’s name will be remembered and although we don’t know any of the names of the Babel builder, we know Abraham’s name. Even without a surname, if you ask someone who Father Abraham is, they’ll most likely point you to the Bible and recount the story of Abraham. His name was made great, but for he exact opposite reasons of the Babel builders. Abraham obeyed, trusted and put his faith in GOD and his faith was counted to him as righteousness.
But there is another, who’s name is greater than any name ever. One who’s name is above every other name. Paul writes,
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
The best way to make a name for yourself, is to line up behind Jesus. No name is higher or greater or better than his. If your name is behind his name, following him, then you know your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, where it can never be removed.