”So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:8-9 NIV
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6 NLT
At first glance, the above verses from the Holy Bible may seem to be contradictory. After all, if God wanted His children to live in harmony, why did He scatter them over the face of the earth and cause the various groups to speak in different languages?
That hardly seems like a sensible approach to achieving harmony.
Although that concept was likely in God’s plan when He created mankind, the simple truth is that there will never be complete harmony here on earth and God was well aware of that fact when He “scattered them over the face of the earth.” Once Adam and Eve created sin, everything changed. Once fallen, our willingness to place ourselves before God became possible, and with it, the desire to build monuments that glorified ourselves and not God. Hence, the ‘Tower Of Babel’ which was built to honor mankind, and not God.
Seeing this, God scattered His children and gave them different languages so they could not understand one another and could not help each other to give glory to themselves and not to Him.
Was it His intention to keep His children separated for all time? We know this isn’t entirely true for He gave us Jesus Christ, the Messiah who was born of a virgin, lived the perfect, sin-free life we are incapable of living, was brutally hung on a cross where He took upon Himself the punishment we deserve, died and rose again on the third day thereby clearing the way to God which is the “Path To Freedom” on which this entire blog is based.
Does God expect the entire world to live in harmony?
He knows this is an impossible thing. He knows that ‘world peace’ is something more likely to enter the public lexicon as a wish expressed by a beauty pageant contestant than as an actual state of worldwide harmonious living that can possibly be attained. There are too many incentives for Satan to allow that to happen. There are fortunes to be made on the backs of the poor, entire groups of human beings to exploit, and too many personal “Towers of Babel” to be built by those who live in willful disobedience to, and rebellion against, God.
So what did Paul mean when he said, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NLT) Well, He meant that all Christians are expected to live in harmony. This is an important distinction to make, because it is too easy to become discouraged if we attempt to live as Paul instructed when he went on to say, ”Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” Romans 15:7 NLT
Where our “Path To Freedom” is concerned, we should definitely rejoice and give praise to God if it is a ‘one way street’, because that means we are moving forward on the path with no setbacks. However, where ‘harmony’ is concerned, we need to pray to God for the strength to deal with the fact that it, too, will often be a one way street, but that is not a good thing. Unfortunately, no matter the effort we put into it, trying to live harmoniously with others will often be met with resistance or outright rejection. Those who reject the notion of harmony among people, for whatever reason, cannot possibly be followers of Christ, for we are told that is what we must do.
While we are praying for the strength to deal with those who reject ‘harmony’ in general, let us also pray for those doing the rejecting, in order that God may choose to soften their hearts. At the same time, we know that there is hope in harmony, for our hope lies in God and, as Paul stated, accepting each other and living in harmony gives glory to God.
The hunt for harmony can be a tiring and frustrating one, but finding brothers and sisters in Christ whom we can walk with, in harmony, can make the steps we take on the “Path To Freedom” steps that glorify God and enrich our lives here on earth.