After the Flood, people started to build a tower. They didn’t want to spread around the world as God told them to. God could tell things would soon get worse.
After the great Flood in Noah’s day, many children were born. Everyone alive came from the eight people who survived the Flood on the ark.
God told Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”
A city and a tower
In time Noah’s family grew large. Everyone spoke the same language. And many of them decided to build a great city. In the city they wanted to build “a tower whose top is in the heavens.”
The people wanted to be great. They wanted to all stay together in a big city. They didn’t spread out as God wanted them to.
Maybe they thought they could build a tower so tall, even a flood couldn’t affect them. People didn’t want to obey God, and they didn’t want God to punish them. They were listening to the rebellious ideas of the devil, just as Adam and Eve had.
God could tell that the people were becoming like the people before the Flood. They had evil thoughts and plans.
God watched them. He knew that if they kept going the way they were going, things would soon get worse.
“Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do,” God said. “Now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.”
Working together, people would do worse and worse things. God didn’t want things to get as bad as they were before the Flood so soon. So He decided to do something to slow them down.
“Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:6-7).
After God did this miracle, different groups of people could not understand each other. They were suddenly talking different languages. If one worker asked another to pass a brick, his words didn’t make sense to the other one. It was all very confusing.
So families who spoke the same language began to group together. They began to spread out as God had wanted them to all along.
They stopped building the city and the tower. It became known as Babel. (Babel sounds like the Hebrew word for confusion.)
The end of language barriers
Speaking different languages separates people to this day. God plans to reverse this curse in the future.
God did a miracle on the Day of Pentecost that shows His power to break down language barriers.
On Pentecost after Jesus Christ returned to heaven, He got people’s attention. He used a sound like a mighty rushing wind to attract a crowd. When they got there, they heard Jesus’ followers speaking other languages.
“Everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed, and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?’” (Acts 2:6-8).
God used this special miracle to announce the giving of His Holy Spirit and the start of His Church. The Holy Spirit and the Church bring people of different languages together. Instead of confusion, God’s people can have understanding and peace.
And when Jesus Christ comes back to the earth, people will all learn to speak a pure language.
They will no longer listen to the devil’s ideas. They won’t choose to become worse and worse. With God’s help they will work together to make things better and better.
Instead of a tower of selfishness and confusion, people will have the chance to build a new world of love and peace. The confusion and rebellion at the tower of Babel will be replaced by peace and obedience in the Kingdom of God.
Here are some questions to think about or talk about as a family:
- Why did the people want to build a tower?
- How does the devil lead people to do bad things?
- What would you do if other people suddenly couldn’t understand you? What would you do if you couldn’t understand other people?
- How will the language barriers be removed?
Read more about these events in the following blog posts and articles: