Tuesday after the First Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord
Posted on January 15, 2019 byunder
Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9 (NKJV)
11:1 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.
“Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth.”
The Lord graciously, by means of the ark, spared a remnant of humanity during the great flood. And was humanity forever grateful for this? We know better. In their arrogance they attempted to build a great tower to heaven. It was the height of fallen, sinful hubris. We read in verse 5 that “the Lord came down to see the city and the tower.” The Lord is omniscient and omnipotent, of course. But the point of saying “the Lord came down” is to drive home the point that what we think is “great” is pitifully small in the eyes of the Lord.
The Lord puts a stop to it. It is a drastic mercy, a throwing of cold water on the hubris of man, that we might repent and receive the Lord’s grace, rather than trying to invade heaven with skyscrapers of our own making. The text says He confused their language, jumbled their lips. And so we have a multiplicity of languages to this day.
By the cross of our Lord, man’s fall in Eden was overthrown (though the effects remain). So too, at Pentecost the curse of Babel was overthrown (though, again, the effects remain). The Church is given the task now to spread the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus to every nation, tribe, people, and language.
We pray: O Lord, we beseech Thee mercifully to receive the prayers of Thy people who call upon Thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.