Summary: The Tower of Babel is not merely an explanation of language changes, but there are four key areas we learn from this account that applies to our Christian culture today.
Tower of Babel
1 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.
3 Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.
4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
6 And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech."
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
When people think about the biblical account of the tower of Babel, they usually associate as the Bible’s explanation of diverse languages. Confusing their language is a part of this story, but it is not the main focus of this account. The language issue is only one of the details to this story. This is an account of the generations after Noah rejecting the commands of God. There are four key areas I see in this passage that this study will examine.
1. Preserve Our Group
The flood ended with the command in Genesis 9:
1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
2 "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every
Yet this generation said, let’s build a city and tower… "lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth". The entire foundation of their plans was in violation of God’s commands. Since the fall, man has been seeking to build a utopia. The longing in our hearts is for what we have lost. The quest for heaven on earth has not ended and will not end until Christ returns. God’s purpose for man has always been to go out and do His will. We can only be complete in Him and we can only be satisfied in the center of His will. He is the One who satisfies, not things or activities. Even the church gets sidetracked from the purposes of God by seeking to live in a self-contained world. There is this idea that it would be nice to isolate from the world and only have church people and church functions at the center of our social life. The focus is on self and not God’s purpose for our lives. The average Christian cuts off most acquaintances to the world within a few months after accepting Christ. There is a line that must be drawn between living in the world and living for the world. We should cut off contacts that are destructive to our faith, but not isolate the church into a separate culture. We are the salt of the world and the light of the world; we are not salt for ourselves and light to the enlightened.
In the early church, God used persecution to get the church out of its isolated state and into the culture where their light could shine and impact the world. God used Saul to scatter the church and then later made called him to preach the gospel throughout the known world. He began as a persecutor and then God transformed him into a new creation and changed his name to Paul the apostle. God used him on both sides. Acts 8:3 tells that Saul persecuted the church and caused it to be scattered throughout the world. Acts 8:4 "Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word."
God doesn’t bless us so that we can lavish in His blessings. God blesses us so that we can bless those around us. He equips us so we can go out and do His will and touch the lives of others in His name. By nature we are self-centered. When the church gets a self-centered worldview, they lose sight of God’s plan. When we become self-centered, we want to be isolated from anything that will interfere with our world. Fearing to lose what we have is why people resist outreach. God commands us to go into the highways and byways to touch everyone with the gospel. This command to go often interferes with our preference to keep our group intact. We get content when our local church gets the way we want it. Then we grow complacent and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.