11 The whole world had only one language, and everyone spoke it. 2 They moved to the east and found a broad valley in Babylon. There they made their home. 3 They said to one another, “Come on! Let’s make bricks and bake them well.” They used bricks instead of stones. They used tar to hold the bricks together. 4 Then they said, “Come on! Let’s build a city for ourselves. Let’s build a tower that reaches to the sky. We’ll make a name for ourselves. Then we won’t be scattered over the whole earth.” 5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 He said, “All these people are united and speak the same language. That is why they can do all this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan. 7 Come on! Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not be able to understand one other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over the whole earth. And they stopped building the city. 9 There the Lord mixed up the language of the whole world. That’s why the city was called Babel. From there the Lord scattered them over the whole earth.
Two things strike me from this scripture. In verse 4, we hear the driving motivation for the Tower of Babel – “let us make a name for ourselves.” And in verse 6, you have the Lord God speaking of the immense capacity the human race possesses in unity – “Nothing will be impossible for them.”
The problem I see here is that the people have great unity of communication – one language and speech – but for the wrong purpose – making a name for themselves. What inspires me by implication in this passage is that given unity of communication, and right purpose, humanity has incredible capacity – God himself says so.
I know we are called to lift up the Name of Jesus with our lives. What I am challenged to ensure is that 1) I have this purpose at the core of my life and daily walk, 2) I am creating a dialogue with those around me towards unity in this purpose – believers and yet to believe alike. Then, as God himself says, the possibilities of what can take place will be endless. God confuses and breaks up sinful unity of purpose. But if the purpose glorifies His Name, will He not throw his blessing behind us?
Lord, show us what it means and looks like to glorify your name. Teach us unity of communication around this purpose again. And then help us lift up your Name all our days, and throughout all the earth. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh