“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1
“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 cry of the nations is consistently, Come let us make a name for ourselves, whereas the cry of God’s people throughout the ages is, Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory. One is self-exaltation, the other self-deprecation, self-abasement. One is, to use Luther’s dichotomy, a theology of glory, a setting up of ourselves as the one’s to be worshiped and uplifted, the other a theology of the cross, where we come and die to ourselves in the service of God, His gospel and other’s as a necessary result. In sum, one is about humility, the other about pride. The seemingly ironic thing is that in humbling ourselves before the Lord, He lifts us up in the service of the glory of His name. And it is here that we find the purpose for which we were created, the end for which all the existential, secular thought in the world can’t come to terms with: glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. He is the only One who can satisfy us with His likeness, His presence, for it was He who put breath in our lungs, formed our very being. Only He knows how to give us joy beyond measure. No other thing, including self-exaltation and self-glory, can accomplish this.