Growing with God: A daily devotion with Tonia Slimm.
Genesis 11:1-4 (NIV)
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Genesis 11:1-4 (MSG)
At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language. It so happened that as they moved out of the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled down. They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and fire them well.” They used brick for stone and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.”
“Now the whole earth spoke one language and used the same words (vocabulary). And as people journeyed eastward, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they settled there. They said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly [in a kiln, to harden and strengthen them].” So they used brick for stone [as building material], and they used tar (bitumen, asphalt) for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build a city for ourselves, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a [famous] name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered [into separate groups] and be dispersed over the surface of the entire earth [as the Lord instructed].” -AMPLIFIED
God’s story moves from the saving of Noah’s family and the horrific destruction of the whole world, to mankind once again having a rebellious spirit. We find a large group of people moving into the plain of Shinar. This is believed to be part of Babylon; which is modern day Iraq. Various Hebrew texts and histories tell us the reason it was later called “Babel” or “Babylon” was because of the fact that this was where the people’s languages were confused and they all sounded as if they were babbling.
Genesis 11:8-9 says, “So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” (NIV)
In 9 short verses we find the telling of a story that changed the course of history; as well every life completely. It all happened too because of the audacity and pride of man. Once again, that rebellious, prideful spirit comes forth and God has to nip it in the bud. Man’s thoughts were, “Come, let us build a city for ourselves, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a [famous] name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered [into separate groups] and be dispersed over the surface of the entire earth [as the Lord instructed].”
God took some pretty strong measures that day. He confused their one language and in turn gave them many languages. Suddenly, they went from all speaking one tongue, to no longer understanding one another. Imagine the confusion that must have reigned on that day. Families and friends separated because they no longer discern what one another are saying.
Once again, God has stepped in to change the course of His-story, because of man’s pride and rebellion. Oh, be careful little heart and mind where you tend to wander; for God will not allow man in his arrogance to usurp His position. Isaiah reminds us of God’s perspective of the proud, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.” Isaiah 13:11 (NIV)
The Apostle Paul reminds us to be careful of following those human tendencies toward pride and rebellion. He instructs us with these words, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Lord, keep my heart and mind from the sins of pride and rebellion. Let me be careful to do everything I do to bring you glory and honor, not myself. Let me never be so foolish to think that I could ever be something larger than life, as only you are. There is only One God, and there is no one like Him, nor will there ever be. Please, help me keep my heart in tune with your Holy Spirit. Let my life exemplify yours, Jesus, and let me bring glory to your Name, always Lord.