Then they 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
Noah’s sons had many children, who had many children, who had many children…a new beginning from those who exited the ark. The whole earth is bustling with one language; with shared common words.
Meanwhile, the devil is still lurking around, continually trying to convince us we need more…more power, more stuff, more control, more security, more attention for ourselves. The people decide to build a city and tower to try to reach into the heavens. Their goal? To make a name for themselves and to consolidate their power base rather than spread out as God commanded them.
Not surprising, this little construction project did not please God. As a result of their disobedience, He confused their language and dispersed the people.
A tower now referred to as the Tower of Babel, built in an effort to make themselves more powerful, only made them weaker and divided. Common language became babel – a scene of noisy confusion.
Disobedience created a new, never experienced division, this one in location and languages. No longer does everyone have harmony associated with a single language to understand one another.
At no time was God threatened by their power or tower building, but He knew it was a threat to them and He had to stop it. When God disrupts our building plans and causes that which we fear to happen, it is an act of mercy in His wisdom and view of an unhealthy path we are on. It is not a ladder that will help us reach heaven, but instead a cross.
Questions: Have you ever thought about what it must have been like when the entire world had unity of language and culture? What do you think the impact of sudden different languages and cultures was like to these people?