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Daily Devotional

January 9

LET US BUILD A CITY AND A TOWER

by Henry T. Vriesen

Genesis 11

The flood had taken away the ungodly people from off the earth. Noah and his family had been spared. Everything was ready for a new beginning. As the number of people increased, they moved toward the south and east. They came to a plain in the land of Shinar. This plain was very well watered, for it had the mighty river Tigris on the east and the still greater Euphrates to the west. 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.” God had said. “Replenish the earth.” This they did not want to do. They wanted to stay together.

They strove to establish for themselves an immortal name on earth, and in raising an eternal monument to themselves they show a proud ambition, which exalts itself against God. Having alienated themselves from the pure worship of God, they were filled with a mad ambition and proud contempt of God. So they got busy. Some were making brick, others prepared the mortar. Still others were carrying brick and mortar to the workmen who were building the city and the tower. Everything was moving fast and everybody was hoping that someday their great city and wonderful tower would be finished.

Then something happened that had not been expected. God stepped in. We are not told that he spoke to the builders, and perhaps they did not know that he had been there to look upon their work. He saw that the people had begun to build the tower, and now they would stop at nothing that they might want to do. He did not want them to stay in one city, all huddled up together. He wanted them to spread over the whole earth he had made for them. So he planned to stop their building.

Until this time all the people on earth spoke the same language. Now God caused them to speak different languages. One group could not make out what their neighbors were talking about. They became confused and could not understand each other anymore. So the building could not go on. The tower was not finished. The people separated and went to live in various places of the earth. They were scattered to many countries, just as God wanted them to be. The name of the tower and the city was called Babel. That means confusion, because there was such a great mixup when God confused the language of the people.

The children of Shem remained in Asia, and God was with them. The children of Japheth went mostly to the west to the islands and to Europe. The children of Ham went to the regions of the south and to torrid Africa.

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