CHAPTER VAgnes M. Lawson
The Tower of Babel
Hints to Bible Study
The Colorado College of Divine Science
This is an ancient Hebrew explanation of the diversity of human language and the divergence and antagonism between men. Babylon, the cosmopolitan city of human grandeur and many gods, was a synonym for wickedness to the monotheistic and simple-minded Hebrew, and he uses it in many graphic illustrations to elucidate his spiritual truths. Babylon was the center of civilization at this date, and its life was marked by luxury and magnificence. The great buildings and remarkable achievements of the Babylonians without the consecration of them to spiritual purposes were the “pride of man” and “rebellion against the Lord” to the Hebrew.
The story runs in this way: The Babylonian in his pride and arrogance decides to build a city and tower that will reach to heaven, and make a name for himself that will be scattered over the whole earth. Jehovah comes down to see about it. Jehovah is always jealous, He will have no pride, arrogance, or self assertion. Every “tower” that we build in this attitude of thought invites this visit. And so the great Jehovah said, “Go to, let us go down and there confound their language that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of the earth: and they left off to build the city.”
Without unity of purpose no great tower can be built nor any great work be accomplished. Pride, arrogance, self assertion, can not translate spiritual truth into visible expression. Selfishness is always isolation, and when each works for self his language can never be understood by another. It is the one who has not found himself, and so does not know the meaning of his own life, and the one so lost in self that he has not outlets, who complains of being misunderstood. We all understand the large, generous, self-forgetting man or woman.
The Pentecostal gift of Christianity is the converse of the Tower of Babel. It is only as we sit with “one accord” that the gift of tongues descends upon us. Then we speak as the Spirit gives us utterance and we are understood of all. The great people are the most simple and they are easily comprehended, for they have the power to make themselves understood. A common purpose is a common speech; we know where a man is going if he is on the road to our home. There were many languages among the Allies but they understood each other well.
Just as selfishness confounds our language, and dispersion and disintegration must follow, so unity and obedience unite us and give us the gift of tongues, a common purpose and a common speech. The spiritual world is a universe, that is, it is so constituted that we, each, have a particular good and supply, and the welfare of the whole demands that each unit have free expression. There is never cause for dissension; there is no possibility for rivalry. The good that comes to another is but the prophecy of a similar good that is ours, and the rejoice in another’s victory is the sure precursor of the arrival of our own. It is always on its way to us, will we but keep the way open for its passage; for each life is complete and that which belongs to us, from a Power in which there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, we must receive.
The great lesson of the Tower of Babel is to cease thinking of self. We are to come out of our narrow, selfish restrictions and work and live for others. God made the world and all there is in it just to have something to put His Life into. We grow up unto Him as we work for the welfare of the race.
What we all need is something outside of ourselves to work for. There is a Tower to be built, but it is not to make a name for ourselves. It is to benefit others. Whatsoever we do for others is twice blest, it blesses him who gives and it blesses him who receives.
There yet remains the great Tower to be built. Its base must rest on the earth and its top be lost in heaven. It is the discovery and demonstration of all truth. It is Jehovah’s Tower and must be built in His name and for His glory. We must work for truth alone, and as we work in Spirit and in truth we receive our New Name. Surely we feel the glad time coming, the Pentecost of the Spirit, and we know that the barriers of superstition and ignorance are being burned away in the white light of discovered Truth. Every truth perceived, every task nobly performed is a stone built into the Tower.
We grow fine and true as we measure up to the work that confronts us. No matter how lowly, all true work goes into the Tower. The stones in the foundation may not glitter as the gold on the spire, but there would be no spire if the foundation were not securely laid. We each have work, and to do it cheerily, truly, constructively, will place us on a level with the great of all ages. It will broaden us, educate us, and grow us into His likeness.
Service is the keynote of all true living. But the Tower of Babel is a warning not to serve self, but to serve the race. Every day see to it that something has gone forth from your heart and mind, that will lift humanity into a higher concept of man and his destiny. Love alone quickens us into definite and unified action. Therefore love, love and serve. Lose yourself in love and service, for the life of the individual is just a unit in the whole, and the whole is composed of these units, it is saved only as each of us does his part.
With the open vision of the present day, work is easy. At last we see the Spiritual Tower, and we are learning to work shoulder to shoulder. National boundaries are being swept away as we are welding the whole into one great body, religious differences must be adjusted with the advancing of man into the one White Light. All progress everywhere, which works for the betterment of the race anywhere, is a stone placed in the Tower.
* * * * *
Hints to Bible Study
Table of Contents