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Baffling babble in Babylon

They said, "Now let's build a city with a tower that reaches the sky, so that we can make a name for ourselves and not be scattered all over the earth." Then the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which those men had built, and he said, "Now then, these are all one people and they speak one language; this is just the beginning of what they are going to do. Soon they will be able to do anything they want! Let us go down and mix up their language so that they will not understand one another."

Genesis 11 : 4 - 7 (GNB)

I don't know about you but when I first read this passage I was quite surprised and confused. Here we see a community working together for a common goal, to build a mighty tower. A tower like no other on Earth.

Then God sees what these Babylonians are up to, he sees them working together. However instead of being pleased or thinking "finally a community that can work together" he drives them apart. He muddles up their language and triggers confusion across the city.

Maybe like me when reading this you thought "Why would God do this? Surely unity is what he would have wanted..." let's explore this a bit deeper to get a better understanding behind God's decision.

The building of a tall tower by the Babylonians itself was not the problem. If we look across our world today there are many towers that are far higher than would have been possible back then. You might even have some of these towers in a city near you.

If it was not the tower that was the problem what was it? The problem was the motives behind building it. They were actively going against what God had told them to do. God had told them to spread out to all corners of the globe. However the people were trying to build this monument for the exact opposite reason, to prevent themselves from being scattered.

The key thing that we can learn from the baffling babble in Babylon is that ultimately God's plans will ultimately be achieved. We therefore have a choice, we can either follow him, or be like the Babylonians and try to fight against them. Which side are you going to take this week?

This week's song is Brave by Nichole Nordeman.

Header image by: John Christian Fjellestad via Flickr