The Tower of Babel - Story Summary:
Up until this point in the Bible, the whole world had one language - one common speech for all people. The people of the earth became skilled in construction and decided to build a city with a tower that would reach to heaven. By building the tower they wanted to make a name for themselves and also prevent their city from being scattered.
God came to see their city and the tower they were building. He perceived their intentions, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew this "stairway to heaven" would only lead the people away from God. He noted the powerful force within their unity of purpose. As a result, God confused their language, causing them to speak different languages so they would not understand each other. By doing this, God thwarted their plans. He also scattered the people of the city all over the face of the earth.
Points of Interest from the Story:
• When God speaks in this story, He uses the phrase, "let us go," referencing the trinity.
• Some scholars believe that this marks the point in history where God divided the earth into separate continents.
• God says in Genesis 11:6, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." (NIV) God realizes that when people are unified in purpose they can accomplish impossible feats, both noble and ignoble. This is why unity in the body of Christ is so important.
• To build, the people used brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar. They used "man-made" materials, instead of more durable "God-made" materials. The people were building a monument to themselves, to call attention to their own abilities and achievements, instead of giving glory to God.
Question for Reflection:
Are there any "towers" you are building in your life?