Vs. 9, “That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.” Question: Why would the Lord do this? We may be quick to think this was an act of punishment, but in many ways, it was an act of mercy (vs. 1-9). God was remembering His covenant with Adam and Noah. He could have destroyed the prideful hearts at Babel, but chose to confuse our languages. The last couple of chapters have given us insight into the origins of different nations and languages. How interesting that we are celebrating the diversity of countries in the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 summer Olympics today? In summary, we have seen three major judgments in Genesis: The fall (chapter 3), the flood (chapter 6-9), and the scattering of God’s people at Babel (chapter 11). In the second half of our chapter, we see another important genealogy from Shem to Abram (vs. 10-26). It’s no surprise that Abram would come from the line of Shem, given that he was one of the sons who did not disgrace his father Noah. You may have noticed the shortening of the length of years. Some scholars hypothesize there must have been some type of atmospheric ozone type of layer (water) that was helping protect humans from the sun and thus giving people longevity of years. Of course, we are introduced to Abram, Sarai and his family (vs. 27-32).
Regarding application…Power of Language. Vs. 6, “The Lord 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.” How interesting that God would divide us with language, but then begin to reunite us in the church age. I’m constantly reminded of the power of language (or lack thereof) since I go to a multi-speaking church. Being able to communicate and comprehend each other is often taken for granted. On a few occasions, I’ve sat in Korean speaking services and did not understand anything. I’ve also preached and had visitors come who didn’t understand anything I shared. I was telling my little brother-in-law how I’m waiting for the technology to come out where our Bluetooth earpieces will translate simultaneously what someone is saying in another language. I’m sure the Lord will call me home before that would happen. In any case, we do have a common language of love through the Spirit of God! Let that be the spiritual building block to bringing restoration to the lost!