Name: Sharon Crowder
City, State: Jacksonville, IL
I sat down to read my Bible one night many years ago. I read about the Tower of Babel and found myself astounded by God’s words. Our all powerful, all knowing, omnipotent God said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” Huh??? And He goes on with His solution, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” Say what? That’s the solution? I was confounded. In my way of thinking there are some oddities with what God had to say there:
1- He is all-powerful, so why is He worried about what people are capable of doing, that “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”? And, um, nothing’s impossible??!! There is a lot we are NOT capable of doing, and only God is omnipotent, all-powerful, not humans.
2- His solution was not to reduce our innate abilities, not to remove our ability to make bad choices, not to…. I don’t even know what else, His solution was to “confuse their language so they would not understand each other”. Hmmmm.
Ok, so at this point in my Bible studies I had learned to do something as I read and considered God’s points. I had learned to look at the converse meaning. For example, it had occurred to me that the golden rule, as I had always considered it since I was a small child as instructions on how to treat other people, had another application. I should also consider how I should treat myself. (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Means that I should forgive others for their sins/inconsiderate actions/etc. Yes, I got that. I really did try to do that. But suddenly I realized that meant that I should also forgive myself. This was a much more difficult thing for me to do. Yet, there it was, tucked safely away in that beautiful command.) Sooooo- if we were to turn that statement of God’s around in what sounded like a very odd statement to me about the Tower of Babel, that people working together would find nothing that they plan to do impossible for them- what would we end up with?
First of all, it was obviously in their best interest that God confused their language, preventing them from doing various things. He loves us and wants what is best for us, so He was simply protecting the people from themselves since they were off on their own marching orders, doing things He had told them not to do, because they would only end up hurting themselves. He was preventing injury and hurt, like we do when we childproof the house for a baby. Therefore God created divisions between people- presumably with each people group with their own unique sets of strengths and weaknesses. It was kind of like taking the beauty that still remained in His creation despite sin, and while looking at that picture, cutting it into various, beautiful, puzzle pieces.
So the next question that I asked myself was this: ‘So… is that still the case? If we were once again speaking one language, could we once again get to a point where “nothing we planned was impossible”? NOT that we should do this for bad purposes!! No, obviously! But what if it were under good circumstances? What if we gathered together under the banner of God and asked Him to help us ‘speak the same language?’ How might this help us to do His work better, spread the gospel better, finish the work sooner???!!!
And might this one language be the language of Godly love and obedience?