Why Humans Couldn’t Build the Tower of Babel

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.” Genesis 11:4 ESV

This is probably one of the more famous stories in the bible. The humans wanted to build a great tower, now called the Tower of Babel, to become strong and famous. God didn’t like this plan though, so he said

“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:7-8 ESV

This might sound mean upon first reading but it is actually a display of God’s love for us. Truly, if the people had finished the Tower of Babel, this would have ended in destruction! To prevent that, God dispersed them with a great miracle. However, at the same time, He provided a way for us to be reunited so that we might stand as one against the enemy.

God provided a way for us and will guide us all the way!

I’d like to show you why exactly God had to disperse the people. Added to that, I want to highlight the greatness of God’s supernatural interventions at both the scattering and the reunion process.

Why the Tower of Babel Couldn’t Be Built

The problem with building the Tower of Babel was the pride of the people. They said, “let us make a name for ourselves” (see above) which means that they wanted to become famous. Now, the problem with pride is that

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4 NIV

Proud people don’t just abandon God, they also see themselves as gods. With this, they break the first of the Ten Commandments, namely

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 ESV

Hence, the builders of the Tower of Babel had sinned. When you read through the Old Testament, you will see over and over again how evil, defiled and unholy things perish in the presence of God (e.g. Exodus 20:18-19, Leviticus 16:2). Consequently, if the people had stayed united and eventually really reached the heavens. they would have all died.

God didn’t want the people to die nor leave them in a tempting situation though. That’s why He dispersed them until the price for sin was paid. This payment was achieved when Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross. Now we can come into God’s presence without the fear of dying because We Are Forgiven Through the Blood of Christ!

After understanding why God had to stop humanity from building the Tower of Babel, we can focus on the amazing signs He performed in doing so.

The First Miracle: Humanity Is Dispersed

In the time when the Tower of Babel was to be built, the people all spoke just one language, for

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6 NIV

This is just logical because after the great flood, there were just 8 humans left on the whole earth (see 1 Peter 3:20). Here, God confirms that if He had left the people united, they would have surely reached the heavens and perished in his presence.

Now, imagine you’re working on a project with your friends. Then, all of the sudden, you don’t understand each other anymore. And when you look around, you see that the same is true for everyone else in your city. This must have been very scary and confusing and made the completion of the Tower of Babel impossible. This was exaclty the effect which God intended. However, He didn’t leave them alone in their confusion but continually watched over his people.

And if don’t believe in the God’s confusion of language, allow me to show you why our different tongues could not have developed naturally.

The Diversity of Language

Scientists assume that the first humans developed in Africa. This is contrary to the Bible but let’s give them a shot. They say that the people then moved in stages to different parts of the earth. To accomplish that, they needed to be able to communicate with one another though. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to decide if, when and where to go.

Scattered over the face of the earth, the people now might have developed different dialects of their language. However, when you already know a language and the people around you share this knowledge, there is no need to make up a completely different one!

Well, when you look at the currently spoken languages, you’ll find that many of them belong to the same family. They have similar words and sentence structures which means that they can be traced back to one mother language. However, according to mustgo.com, there are still 147 very different language families! This just could not have developed on its own — especially when you consider how fundamentally different some languages are. Consequently, the only way so many language families could have developed is through God’s supernatural intervention at the Tower of Babel.

Moreover, different language families also imply different ways of thinking. This can be seen in all the wars and cultural differences today. Since this makes it easy for the enemy to attack us. God provided us with a great tower of protection and guidance which wasn’t build by human hands.

There Is A Tower of Babel Today

Our God is a God of love peace and unity. This is why Paul wrote,

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV

If you don’t have peace right now, it might encourage you to read about How God’s Blessing Withstands All Earthquakes.

For that very reason, God himself built a Tower of Babel. This tower is so great that it will guide us home from all corners of the earth. It will further strenghten us and protect us from the enemy. And since God errected it all by himself, we can’t fall into sin by being proud of it for

This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:2324 NIV

You might have guessed it already: This tower is God himself because as David wrote,

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2 KJV

Great encouragements to trust in God as our great fortress and the one who takes care of us

Only God can protect us in all circumstances and only God can lead us to himself. Moreover, only through God’s help can we experience true unity to stand as one against the enemy.

The Second Miracle: Humanity is Reunited

The devil is quite clever in making us believe that we are lost, alone and worthless. These things are all lies though! To resist Satan’s lies, God has given us fellowship with one another. That way, we can encourage each other and drown out the lies of this world. Furthermore, now that our debt has been paid, we can be fully reunited so

that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:6 ESV

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, Ephesians 2:14 NKJV

Those who are in Christ Jesus have one mind and a desire to obey the Lord. With that, God overcame the barriers of culture and prejudices and shines his light into the darkness of the world. This true unity can only be found in the Lord and is The Evidence of God’s Presence.

However, there are still many different languages on earth which make it hard to tell the whole world that God proclaims,

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22 NASB

That is why He further supports us by supernaturally overcoming language barriers!

How God’s Tower of Babel Overcomes Language Barriers

I want to share two short testimonies with you in which God has supernaturally surpassed the language differences of two persons. He did this to provide the receiver of the message with truth and encouragements.

Preaching The Gospel To A Foreigner

The first testimony is from a fellow Christian who used to work in a hotel. They once had a foreign girl for an internship there who didn’t speak english at all. Thus, even though they tried to converse several times it just didn’t work out.

One day, he found her sitting all alone in the cafeteria and felt as if he should preach the gospel to her. Against all odds, he followed this call and testified about Jesus while speaking very slowly. And although they weren’t able to converse about normal things, she seemed to understand every word he spoke and even started crying! After being back home, she sent a letter in which she confirmed her conversion and happily told him that she had joined a church in her hometown.

This couldn’t have happened without the Lord opening her heart for the truth of the gospel even though it was being preached to her in a foreign language!

Praising God In A Different Lanugage

The second testimony is similar to the experience of the disciples at Pentecost. It is written that

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:4 NIV

This same ability is given to all who are baptized in the Holy Spirit. That way, we can glorify God in other languages — either human or angelic ones.

A friend of mine once sang in tongues while sitting in a church meeting next to a russian lady. She recognized that what she uttered sounded like Russian and after a while, the lady next to her started crying because of this song. I should mention, that this friend of mine doesn’t speak a word of Russian and that she still doesn’t know what she had sung. However, the woman next to her understood it and was deeply touched by it just like it was the case with the people in Jerusalem at Pentecost!

God’s Tower of Babel In Your Life

God himself is our great Tower of Babel and just like the tower in Genesis should have guided the people home, so

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21 NASB

“I Lift My Hands” by Chris Tomlin (lyrics video)

Remember this whenever you feel lost or tossed around, because God alone is trustworthy and He will never fail you! And if you keep in step with the Holy Spirit, God will manifest himself in your life like He did in the testimonies above. He will use you as a sign pointing to salvation and speak through you to build up his church. This promise includes all of you. No one should ever believe the lie that he or she isn’t good enough to serve God,

for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 ESV

Therefore, when you’re in a hard time or under an attack from the enemy, run to God. He will protect, strengthen and guide you until you can boldly declare,

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Amen.

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