1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 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." 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused1 the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
In the name of + Jesus.
The story of the Tower of Babel is filled with irony. Consider the following:
1) God had commanded the people to fill the earth, but it was his ultimate promise to bring them back together again in heaven—through faith in the Christ.
2) The people desired to be together, but would end up being scattered as a sign of God’s wrath and judgment.
Think about it. God has chosen to scatter the people across the face of the earth—for a time. And by faith in God’s Word, those people would one day be gathered back together with all the number of faithful, into a heavenly holy city, the new Jerusalem, to live with God in His presence.
But the people wanted to be together now. They did not want to live by faith. They did not want to trust the command of their creator. They did not want to live a life that God had willed for them to live. So they built the Tower of Babel, and ended up being scattered anyway.
They very thing the people desired was the thing God had planned to give—in His time—to be together forever. But because they had chosen to have it on their own terms, they would live out their lives be scattered, the very thing that they sought to avoid.
This is how it always works with God; and this is how it works with our sinful nature. God desires to give good gifts. Out of His own mercy and love for humanity, God the Father promises to provide daily bread. Through the gift of His Son, and the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, He provides forgiveness, life and salvation. Because He desire all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth, the Father sends the Holy Spirit to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify the whole Christian (catholic) Church on earth through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the preaching of the Gospel, hearts are brought to repentance and are given the gift of faith in Christ. And where there is faith in Christ, scattered people from across the globe are united again under the name of Jesus, and are promised to be united in the new creation forever.
Faith trusts that what God gives is always good. Though we don’t see the end of things; though life’s many challenges and changes cause us to doubt; though sin, death, and the Devil would tempt us to demand that God give His gifts on our schedule, faith trusts God to give His gifts, when and where He wills. And faith trusts that when and where God wills to give those gifts, they will be good gifts.
The irony is that unbelief ends up getting what it wants…for now, and ends up with nothing in the end. But faith, even though it waits to receive what it wants, will end up having everything in the end. And we know this by looking at Jesus—the cross; the empty tomb; the ascension…and one day…His glorious return, when the men and women of faith, scattered around the world, will be gathered together forever.
In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
We praise You, O God, that You enable Your Church to overcome our divisions with the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus, by which you bind us together as one in the forgiveness of sins. Amen.