Friday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 2:1-13

Babel Turned Upside-Down

One of the saddest passages of Scriptures comes in Genesis 11:1-9.  There the people of the earth gather, having multiplied for some time after the flood, and are of one language.  God had told them to fill the earth, but they didn’t want to (Genesis 1:22, 28; 9:1, 7).  Instead, they are concerned that they shall be scattered over all the earth, and so fancy that if they only build a tower up to the heavens, then they shall make a name for themselves.  So they begin this grand building project, dedicated to themselves, and God takes notice – as God always does (Job 34:21).  In an act of judgment and mercy, He confuses their language and thus they are scattered over all the earth.  And so they left off building and the place was called Babel.  I say this was a mercy, for if we are as wicked as we have been when we were separated by so many language barriers, well, imagine how wicked we could have been all united in our wickedness!

So the hope of Genesis 12 picks up where the sorrow of Genesis 11 left off with God’s call of Abraham and the whole story of redemption beginning with him and told from there to Revelation 22.  The prophets told of a wonderful time when God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28-29).  Well, here it is fulfilled.  And as the Holy Spirit falls like a rushing wind on his people, they begin to speak in other languages, only this time, they are understood.  The day of Pentecost here in Acts 2 turns the Babel of Genesis 11 on its head!  Judgment is now turned to blessing.  The meaning is that the gospel will now go out to all the earth, in all the languages represented by the numerous different peoples gathered that day in Jerusalem.  While man’s sin on that Mesopotamian plain so long ago ended in tragedy, God’s grace and mercy make a way for man to be gathered together again as one family under the dominion, not of Nimrod, but of Christ Jesus.

Amazingly and quite stupidly some onlookers accuse the believers of being filled with new wine, as if inebriation enhances facility with languages.  But in another way, these first Christians were filled with new wine, as hinted by our Lord when he compared the new covenant he was bringing to new wine (Mark 2:22).  These were filled with the Holy Spirit who was doing a new thing, bringing a new reality, bringing the new world into the old world and creating anew his people and gathering them in all their several languages into his one and only Church.  It’s really a picture of heaven: God redeems man from his sin and separation from God, others, and himself, and gathers them all together into one family of unity and love.  As always, God wins.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

2 thoughts on “Friday in the First Week of Ordinary Time”

  1. Stephen, congratulations on your accomplishment of your doctorate. I know that was a goal achieved and big sacrifice by many to make it so. My son is also pursuing his doctorate in Biblical Counseling. He is in a pause period at the moment as they have welcomed baby #6 to their family.

    Thank you for your devotional. I look forward to my time with the Lord every morning.

    Blessings,
    Kathy Neuberger

    1. Kathy,
      Thank you very much. Tell your son that I had to take a two year leave of absence because of financial reasons, so not to feel bad. And by the way, we just celebrated the birth of our third grandchild – Felix James.

      Grace & peace,
      Stephen

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