It's amazing how fresh the Bible can be, even when it's just a listing of events and genealogies. What pops out is a good indication of where you are, in terms of your thoughts and concerns.
Chapters 8-11 go from the end of Noah's flood up through the genealogy of Abram. Even in that, I found some interesting nuggets that fall in line with my thinking lately.
The first was Gen 9:14-15,
Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.Where I live, we have had drought conditions for some time. This year, however, there seems to rain almost weekly. A couple of weeks ago I saw the most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen. It was a full arc and rich in color.
As I read Genesis 9:14-15, I thought facetiously to myself that perhaps we keep getting the rain because we are exercising God's patience with us, and so He's putting lots of rainbows in the sky to remind Himself of His convenant with us!
The other verse that stood out to me was Genesis 11: 5-7,
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."The thought that came to me is less facetious, but still partly in jest.
I thought, "As the United States of America, we started with the same language, i.e., English. Well, at least, we united around a common language, even if it wasn't one's first language. We made ourselves a great tower, in terms of a mighty nation, full of all sorts of things that are not pleasing to God. Perhaps as at the Tower of Babel, He has confused our language, by bringing people here from all over the earth. Ironically, back then, people's languages became confused and it scattered them; here in America, people scattered from other lands to America, and it confused our language." Growing up in Southern California, and working in the public schools, I know that materials had to be translated into something like 19 languages.
Having varied languages does weaken us as communities. Without good communication, all sorts of factions, prejudices, and misunderstandings can happen. Language is a uniting factor. In "post-racial" America, I think that different languages are more prejudice inducing than one's country of origin. All of America's problems certainly to not reside in this issue, but the United States of America feels less united than ever. Even illegal immigration shows a divide that at some level has to do with a foreign language. A common language couldn't do anything but help increase unity among all people.
Who knew that reading about the Tower of Babel would take me there!