An ambitious building project came to a screeching halt. What happened? In the 11th chapter of the book of Genesis we read how people got together to build a great city with an enormous tower. Their goal was to unify the world under one capital – incidentally the goal of many rising and falling empires in the history of mankind. With the introduction of foreign languages, however, God threw a mighty curve ball. People divided into their respective language groups to form tribes and nations. And so they began to scatter into the four corners of this world forever abandoning the construction project of the Tower of Babel.
With Babel came native and foreign tongues, and ever since we have been in dire need of translators to be able to communicate with people all over the world. “Babel” sounds like the word “confusion” in Hebrew. And the confusion is profound indeed – even among people speaking the same language. We have a hard time understanding each other and much less can we make sense of God’s Word. Consequently, God has been misunderstood, and in the realm of human relations people have been misunderstood.
We worship God in Spirit and in truth. Without God’s Spirit we don’t know how to worship the Lord. The same is true with studying the Word of God; the Spirit of God breathes life and meaning into the Scriptures and explains God’s thoughts to us. He could be seen as our interpreter from Heaven. Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to His followers as an advocate and His representative before He left this earth to return to the Father. In John’s gospel Jesus said to His disciples (John 14:26):
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The gift of the Holy Spirit has become the powerful antidote to the Babel event. He opens the door to a better understanding between God and His children and naturally also between believers. The Spirit of God was poured out worldwide to teach us God’s ways and is currently knocking on doors of human hearts to bring all people back to God (Revelation 22:17):
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”