When your home has been destroyed and the city lay in ruins, starting over doesn’t happen so easily. Imagine a French family living in one of the many towns utterly destroyed by the allied bombings of World War II. How do you move on when every building on the street has been bombed out, shattered bricks spilling out onto the roads, rooms exposed on three sides because their walls were blown apart? Is it even feasible or compassionate to suggest starting over at that point? Or think of the people in Iraq who desire to move past the tribal wars and historical blood feuds that have destroyed their homes for years. It’s hard to move past all of that and start over.

Moving away from the desolation of life to something better can seem like a monumental task. When we have been torn up by sin, when the foundation of our life has been blown apart by guilt and the consequences of our sin, it seems unimaginable to move away from all that pain. 

It’s a fight. Being a child of God is a fight. So how do we move on from the rubble of our sin? How do we carry the light of God’s promise into the darkness of this world? We take God’s word, we take his promises, and we move on. As humanity on the dawn of its second age moved away from their rebellion at the Tower of Babel, so we move away from our own “babels.” We move away with the Lord's forgiving presence leaving behind our sinful pride. 

Perhaps you remember the story of the Tower of Babel. Mankind spoke one language and instead of following God's instructions of settling throughout the earth, they banded together to build a tower and make a name for themselves in opposition to God. So God confused their languages and they abandoned the project because they couldn't understand each other.

In other words, in the presence of sin, the Lord intervenes. 

So the Tower of Babel is really a piece of man’s history that reminds us that we are by nature sinful. God says do this; we do that. God commands us to stand firm in the faith; we often collapse under pressure. God says to proclaim his good news; we would rather not upset people so we stay quiet. It all points to one thing: we would rather build ourselves up; we would rather do our own thing. And this is our own babel.

But more importantly Babel is about the forgiving presence of the Lord. God could have wiped mankind out like he did at the flood, he certainly had every right. But that wasn’t part of his plan. The Lord came in his presence to intervene, to stave off the disaster that rebellion deserves; to deliver mankind from sin. Think of how the Lord did that through Jesus Christ. He is also called “Immanuel,” God With Us. Christ is the presence of God to intervene on our behalf. So on our behalf he was perfect. God commanded mankind to love him more than anything else, so Christ did that perfectly, always valuing God more than anything even his own life! God commanded mankind to love their neighbor, so Christ did that perfectly showing his love by teaching people the gospel, healing people, and most of all by dying for everyone. The LORD came down and walked among us for a while and while he sojourned with us below, he sacrificed himself to make us right with God. The Lord always remembered his promise and fulfilled it because he wanted you to know with unshakable certainty, with unmovable hope, that you are forgiven, you are a child of God.

And that forgiveness, that certainty of knowing who you are in God's eyes helps you move away from your own babel.