Genesis chapter 11 contains a very interesting story. The story of a people coming together for a common goal. It would seem like a great idea, but the heart of the people were not focused on the heart of God. They were focused on themselves. It’s the story of the tower of babel.
I’ve read this story several times. A couple morals of the story are, that no human can reach heaven on their own, and humans should not make themselves idols to be worshiped. Very Good lessons to learn, about who we are and what are physical limitations are.
This week as I was reading this story to my boys out of The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It occurred to me, there is more to learn from this story about communication.
I’m sure we all have had at least one experience about a misunderstanding with another person that involves the words we said and the words we heard.
I feel as if these types of misunderstandings happen often in my life. This time as I was reading through the story, it jumped out at me that God confused their tongues intentionally.
His purpose was to confuse them and create offense between them. His intention was to separate the people, in order to stop them from building the tower. Now, do I think God wants us all to be rude and unkind, NO! But let’s take a step back and examine God’s law. First and foremost, Thou shall have no other God’s before me. The people in the story of babel were making themselves gods before the other people not in the tower, and to each other. They were filled with their own pride. God intervened because He knows what is best for our hearts. Having ourselves and other people at the center of our hearts, minds, and focus is disastrous at best.
God created us for community, but that community should not come before our relationship with Him. God created us for intimacy, but it should come with Him first. God created us for many things, but He should be First in everything.
When I speak, am I speaking because I want to be heard, I’m nervous, I want to be right, or because Jesus is asking me to speak? I find that when I ask the Holy Spirit to give me the words to speak, most times it turns out better.
The other side of the coin, is the listening. When I hear others, sometimes, okay more often than I’d like to admit, I’m easily offended or brokenhearted by what they have said. BUT, ( and yes it’s a BIG BUT!) do I need to be offended and hurt? When I stop and ask my heavenly Father, more times than not, He says no. He helps me understand His truth for my life and helps me let go of what isn’t necessary.
In all our humanity, in every aspect, in everything we attempt, WE need God. We need His wisdom, His love, His perspective, His Grace, and His mercy.
Especially when communicating, we NEED God to intervene.
One of my favorite poets, Javan, wrote about this very issue. Here is my best paraphrase, if I speak, but not with my words. And you listen, but not with your ears, then maybe we can communicate!
Abba, helps us to come to you. To talk to you and hear from your heart first. Lord humble our hearts an minds so that we seek you before attempting anything on our own. In Jesus name, Amen.