In Genesis 11, the Babel-builders say to themselves, “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).
You just need to read the next few verses to hear how that ended. Short version: not well. There’s humour in the fact that God had to “come down” to see the city and tower (Genesis 11:5), and He was not at all interested in their plans to make a name for themselves.
There’s rich irony, then, in the fact that this chapter ends by introducing us to a man from this very same part of the world (Genesis 11:27-28) who hears the following promise from God: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great” (Genesis 12:1–2).
“I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn; do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.’” For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. (Psalm 75:4–7).