At one time the whole world spoke a single language and used the same words.
Genesis 11:1 (NLT)
We live in a multicultural society where nationalities speak different languages. There is a well known term, ‘the language barrier’, it refers to the difficulties in communication experienced by people because they speak different languages. Even when people speak the same language, differences in dialect can create misunderstanding and gaps in communication. India, for example, uses over 22 major languages, written in 13 different scripts, with over 720 dialects.
But how did we get into this state of linguistic confusion in the first place? Scripture tells us, ‘At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words.’ (Genesis 11:1). Then these ancient people decided together that they would build a monument to their own greatness. God was against their plans and soon put a stop to their building project. ‘In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city.’(Genesis 11:8). That is why the city was called Babel, ‘…because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages.’ (Genesis 11:9)
The people wanted to be great without God. This world is littered with monuments dedicated to man’s greatness and God is left out of their building projects. Most men find it easy to become absorbed with their own plans and immersed in their own projects without reference to God, and with great confidence in themselves. Should they succeed, without recognising their dependence on the Lord for life and meaning, they will end their days with only temporal success.
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples who were assembled together. The disciples began speaking in different languages and everyone around heard them in their own language and understood what was being said (Acts 2:4-6). Isn’t that amazing! This could only be accomplished by God’s Holy Spirit.
And in Zephaniah 3:9 (New King James) we read, “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one accord.” What a blessed future, God will restore one language to all nations, and all will speak a pure language without the linguistic confusion we have today.
Eternal God, you are the one who scattered the people and confused their language for a reason. And you, almighty God, will restore to the nations a pure language that they all may call on your name and glorify you. Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen
Study by Dennis Payne
About the writer:
Dennis Payne is a Deacon in the Central London
congregation of Grace Communion International.
Grace Communion International Central London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
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