Genesis 11:1-9 Video Devotional

“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)

Have you ever wondered why this story is even in the Bible? It seems out of place in a lot of ways. It is a very small snippet of a story that seemingly answers one main question that affects us today – why we have different languages. Other than that, it seems a pretty small blip that is stuck in between two sets of genealogies. However, if we take a moment to look past the obvious, I think there are some really cool things that point us toward God in a way that shows the unity of His nature and plan.

To understand this story fully, it is best to go back a few chapters to Genesis 9, where we see the most recent command from God. “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). The rest of chapter 9 focuses on the end of Noah’s story and chapter 10 is a genealogy. While a LONG time passed between chapters 9 and 10, the command from God was clear and long standing – be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. That didn’t change.

This is why the Tower of Babel story is so important. It’s not about the height of the structure or human architectural abilities. That’s too simple of an understanding. The people had stopped expanding across the earth, ignoring the command to fill the earth. We were created to be the care-takers of this planet and this is exactly what these people were not doing – they were also stopping future generations from doing so by providing a large urban center to keep people in one place.

The problem is that God called them to expand across the globe, fill it and ultimately spread the blessing of humanity (as originally intended) to all corners. This would certainly not be the last time God asked us to spread the blessings He gave us, and He has shown consistently that His blessings are meant to be spread and He will make sure they are spread. Thus comes an appropriate punishment. He created languages and in their confusion, they spread out to fill the earth, thus accomplishing His original plan.

An interesting story, and on its own, could be just that. However, though God is creative, He is not random. He is very planned and purposeful and we see in the Bible two other situations that deal with people on a large scale that includes a command from God to spread His blessings – which the people disobey. He then responds with a punishment that forces them to comply with His plan. Looking at those 3 stories together shows us a very intentional and purposeful God that will stop at nothing to make sure the whole earth receives His blessings. Come back the rest of the week to learn about those other situations.