Based on Genesis chapter 11: 1 – 9
‘Multiply and fill the earth!’ That’s what God commanded. He didn’t want all the people living in just one place. No! God wanted people living everywhere!
But after the world-wide flood when God saved Noah and his family in the gigantic ark, the people didn’t want to separate. You see, Noah’s children had children and their children had children and so on, until there were lots and lots of people, all speaking the same language. But they were frightened of separating and going to different places – because they’d stopped trusting God! (P) As they increased in number, the people travelled eastwards together until they found a huge, flat piece of land. But when they got there they made a decision that went against God’s command to fill the earth!
‘Tell you what!’ said one man. ‘Why don’t we start making bricks?’
‘Why?’ asked another.
‘Well, if we make loads and loads of bricks, then we’ll have enough to make an enormous city – that we can all live and stay in one place.’
‘Good idea!’ the people replied.
‘And,’ said the first man, ‘We could also make the biggest, the highest and the greatest tower that’s ever been made to show how wonderful we are! A tower to reach the skies!’
‘What a brilliant idea!’ the people said. And they started making bricks! (PAUSE)
Not only were the people disobeying God by trying to stay in one place, now they were boasting about how wonderful they were! God wouldn’t stand for that! (P) It was really so silly because if God had wanted to, He could’ve destroyed the whole city with a little earthquake! But instead, He decided to go to the city and see it for Himself. And as He saw how they’d forgotten about Him and worked so hard to disobey Him, He said,
‘Look at what these people have done. If they can be this wicked and forget about me so quickly, then think of all the evil they could do if We leave them sharing a common language! What terrible things will they do later? No! Instead, We will go down amongst them and give them different languages so they won’t be able to understand each other.’ (PAUSE)
Just how it happened, I don’t really know. But can you imagine waking up one morning as if everything’s normal? (P) I’m sure your own family would’ve spoken the same language, but as you leave your house, you wave to your neighbour who’s just putting the rubbish out. ‘Morning Mrs Jones’ you say. And then you stare at her. Had you heard right? Had she really shouted back? ‘Est-nick-nok transnacker.’
On your way to school, you see one of your friends on the other side of the road. ‘Hey Billy, hold on,’ you shout. ‘You’ll never believe what old Mrs Jones has just said.’ But as you speak, Billy turns and gives you a funny stare, and looking rather worried he hurries off!
By this time you’re starting to notice that something’s very wrong! And, as more and more people get up to start their day – there’s confusion everywhere. But rather than being patient and trying to work out what the other person’s saying, they’re all getting angry and shouting at each other, as if somehow shouting’ll make them easier to understand.
It’s all a little frightening. School’s closed and you hurry home to find your Mum and Dad already there along with a few other families who still seem to speak the same language as you. But it’s impossible to stay now – you need to leave so that your own little group’ll be safe.
And that’s what happened! The building of the great city and tower stopped that very day as the people set out in different directions to find new places to live, just as God had originally commanded!
And the city? It became known as Babel, which means ‘confusion’ – because it was in that city where God confused the people by giving them different languages.