Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 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. 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.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 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. 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. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:1-9 ESV
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12 ESV
My friend was teaching me to speak Chinese. “How many people are in your family?” she asked me in Chinese. But I thought she said, “How much money is in your house?” So I answered, “I don’t know.” She looked very surprised. “You don’t know?” “My husband keeps track of things like that,” I said. I couldn’t understand why she was looking at me as if I were crazy! Thankfully my friend also speaks English. If she didn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to figure out our misunderstanding.
Sometimes misunderstandings because of language are much more serious. Not being able to communicate can cause serious problems between people and countries. Not understanding each other keeps people from working together or really knowing each other.
Different languages and misunderstandings because of them are part of the way God had to punish people after the flood. All the people in the world had stayed together, but they forgot about God. They thought they could make a wonderful world all by themselves, without God’s help, and without doing things God’s way. Because of sin, this is always very dangerous. Often when people try to make a perfect world without God, they end up making a terrible mess, and many people get hurt instead. God stopped this from happening at the Tower of Babel.
Now we have a world full of many different cultures and languages. These languages and cultures often divide people and cause hurts and misunderstandings. Sin is the cause of all this. But God sent a remedy when he sent Jesus. Everyone who believes in Jesus the Savior is part of God’s one big family. We will all be together forever with Jesus, and because of his great love for us, we will love each other perfectly. Even now, we can thank God for giving us brothers and sisters from all over the world!
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross to bring us and many people from all over the world into your family. Amen