Chapter 10 of Genesis describes the posterity of Noah. We see that by his sons and their descendants, the earth was populated. From Japheth came the Gentiles, from Ham, the Canaanites, and from Shem, the Semitic peoples–including the lineage of Abraham from which the Savior would eventually spring.
In Chapter 11, we read the famous story of the infamous Tower of Babel. The Lord confounds the tongue of the people so that they can’t understand one another. Naturally, construction of the greater tower ceases, and the people scatter upon the face of the earth.
What was so bad about the building of the Tower of Babel? Well, it was about more than an affinity for skyscrapers. The scripture says:
4. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
(Genesis 11:4, text bolded for emphasis)
The people of Babel believed, or wanted to believe, that they could reach Heaven through their impressive construction. In other words, they were challenging God, asserting that they could make it to the celestial world, not through obedience to the Lord’s commandments, but by their own artifices.
The desire to “make us a name” is very telling. Christians should want to take upon them the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The residents of Babel, however, wanted to have their own name and be their own people, as opposed to the Lord’s people.
Ultimately, then, pride,rebellion against God, was the sin of the builders of the Tower of Babel. They were in a state of great iniquity. If all these people had remained together, they would have constituted a large nation of spiritual decadence. The height of their corruption, and the extent of their temporal power and influence, are made clear when the Lord says:
6. …Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
(Genesis 11:6, text bolded for emphasis)
If the Lord had not taken action, a wicked empire might well have covered the earth and resulted in a world as fallen as what we had seen prior to the Flood.
The Lord punished mankind by confusing its language, but, like many of His punishments, it was an act of mercy and love. By dividing the world into many autonomous peoples, every nation has the opportunity to accept or reject God on its own. Some nations fall in sin, but others choose the path of righteousness. Whereas under a single culture, language, and government, a few wicked rulers might bring the entire world into sin.
God knows what’s best for us. He knows all things. Our understanding is insignificantly insignificant compared to His. If we presume to know better than He, we’ll inevitably suffer. But if we exercise our faith and humility, we’ll be made great–only by and through His power. And that’s exactly what occurred with certain pious men in the following chapters.
Thanks for reading. Wish you a great day.