Tuesday after the First Sunday after the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord
Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9 (NKJV)
1 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
The descendants of Noah were fruitful and increased in number. However, that there was only one language testifies that they had not spread out over the Earth as God intended, but were localized. The imagination of man’s heart being evil from his youth, they planned the construction of a lofty tower to glorify themselves, worshiping the creature and not the Creator.
The Lord had other plans and intervened in order to frustrate their conceit by scattering them across the face of the whole Earth and confusing their languages. Millennia later, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit came in power upon the people assembled in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Saint Peter preached the first sermon in Christendom and what is known as a miracle of tongues was actually more a miracle of ears. Peter, a Galilean fisherman, spoke in his own tongue and people from far-flung places heard him in their own language. This foreshadowed the inclusion also of non-Jews as children of light, recipients of God’s grace in Christ. Indeed, Jesus at His ascension had instructed His followers that they were to be His witnesses even to the ends of the Earth, speaking and hearing God’s truth in Christ till that hour when every knee will bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We pray: O Lord, open Thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. Grant me the wisdom and courage to speak Your truth with love and the faith to trust that the Holy Spirit will resolve “translation” issues as He does His Gospel work of calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying; forming the Church and keeping it with Christ. Amen.