Q: 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 (Gen 11:6)
I’m having a hard time digesting this verse. The Lord seems surprised and jealous. I assume this verse is showing concern for yet another means to reject the plan for a Savior, which caused the Flood in the previous chapters.
A: You’re right that the people’s plan in building the tower is rebellion against God (notice that they wanted a name for themselves, rather than revere the name of God). They had also been commanded to spread across the face of the earth, but are planning on congregating in one place.
God is, in a sense, jealous (see Exodus 34:14) – he is the bridegroom and the church is his bride. He will not allow anything to get in the way of that most special of relationships. So he confuses their languages, effectively ending the idolatrous project and leading them to a situation where they have to spread out on the earth (as he had commanded)
The confusing of languages and the division of peoples into distinct ethnic groups is recorded in Genesis 10. The events of Genesis 11 explains why there are so many distinct people groups in the world (as described in Genesis 10).
– Pastor Arnold