Not makeshift

One of the Bible passages traditionally read on Pentecost Sunday is the story of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, how the earliest recorded attempt at urban development went wrong. Commentator Derek Kidner said, “The building materials are makeshift, and the builders are weaker still.” Even as they built a monument to themselves, they felt the need to huddle together.

If God had not come down to confuse the language and scatter the people of Babel, they would have eventually scattered anyway. The Tower of Babel hadn’t been “built to code.” It was built without God, which is half-built at best, and it wasn’t going to last.

Millennia later, after Jesus had returned to God in heaven, God sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-21). The people in the crowd heard the apostles speaking to them in their own native language.

The Holy Spirit had reversed the confusion of Babel. The Spirit was telling them who built them and why.

In the same way, the Spirit reminds us that we are not makeshift; we were not half built.

We were meant to rise to become living monuments to the Builder. 

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