I enjoyed a great day back in my home church, Alife, in Bellingham, Wa. We were blessed to have Brad Jersak speaking at Alife in regard to being refractors of the many facets of God. Even as Jesus was, we are to be self-giving, radically forgiving, and co-suffering in our way among men.
Is unity a testimony of being one together with a common purpose as men? I believe that true unity can only happen when we become one in the Spirit and not one through conformity. Is purpose conspired by a common goal or is it the fruit of being joined together in a common Spirit in a common connection with a common Father? Unity comes by God’s presence in our midst, not by our own purposes and goals in life. There was a time on planet earth after the flood, when the earth had been washed clean and mankind was blessed to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (Gen. 9:1). Men spoke the same language and they understood each other perfectly (Gen. 11). There was no need for a translator of any kind in the languages of men. They understood each other, both in language and speech. It was then they began to build a city unto themselves. They were afraid that they would be scattered across the earth. Fear entered their hearts when they understood one another perfectly. They sought to do something that would keep them from being separated or scatted from one another. They sought to build a tower that reached heaven.
Genesis 11:1-4 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
God looked and saw it and God spoke as a plurality. God the Father, the Word, and the Spirit said, this is not good. Let us go down and confuse them. Because nothing is impossible for them.
Genesis 11:5-7 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
God did not desire for man to build a tower that left the earth and entered into heaven. The reason that God put man in the earth in the first place was so the glory of God could enter the earth. God wanted to move into humanity and bring a community that is built by God and not man. God wanted a community that would bring treasures that come from heaven to the earth, not treasures of earth that go into heaven. This was not a secondary plan, but a first plan of God’s glory filling the earth. God’s plan was to invade the earth with heaven. His plan was to bring order to places that need order, to bring fullness to every empty place, to bring light to every corner of darkness. How was God going to do that? By fellowship with God, spirit to Spirit. God and man and man and God in fellowship with one another. God in heaven and man in the earth as one together. God scattered them and confused them. I believe He made it so people looked different.
Genesis 11:8-9 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
My personal idea is it was at this point in time that God made man black, white, yellow and red and all of the variations of human appearance. He made sure there were plenty of reasons to categorize, plenty of reasons to prejudice one another. He made it difficult to understand one another naturally and even impossible to understand one another. It became impossible for human beings to be of one mind and one speech without a supernatural intervention from God. Except with God, all things are possible. God wanted to give man a city whose builder and maker was Him. A heavenly Jerusalem, a heavenly vision of peace that comes out of heaven and fills the earth. It comes out of heaven and fills our lives, our families, our community, and even our nations. It is something that God builds. It is impossible with men, but supernatural among men. Something that is life giving, not life taking. Only unity with the Spirit of God in our hearts can bring the life of God into the world we live in.
Ted J. Hanson