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Sunday, June 10, 2007

What really happened in Shinar?

Have you ever wondered how we all ended up looking and speaking differently? If we go by the accounts in the Bible we were, at one time, all the same. We spoke the same language and came from the same gene pool.

What is often left out of the story is the why. The why is a common unity among the people so great that God himself seemed amazed. Just imagine our nations becoming united in such a way that God would come down and take a look today. I would even settle for that kind of unity in our local communities. Or even just among those we come in contact with on a daily basis.
The story takes place on the plain of Shinar. This place, Shinar, is believed to be in the region we call Iraq today. In Genesis 11, the Bible says,

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men
moved eastward, [a] they found a plain in Shinar [b] and settled there.
3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 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. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." (New International Version)

God had ordered mankind to go and populate the Earth. Instead, mankind went to Shinar and began to build a city with a large tower; the tower of Babel. As God saw the level of unity he says "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. " Now this is huge to me. To me, this tells us that we can become united as a whole, if we can get past the differences God has placed on us. In other words, we have differences because that is how God got us to populate this planet. Now that we have done so, can we not unite as brothers and sisters?

I am told that the Sioux Indians have a belief that God also broke us up into four great nations; the Red Nation, the Yellow Nation, the Black Nation, and the White Nation. Within this belief all other nations have been created by the mixing of the four. I wonder if this occurred at the same time we were made to speak differently at Shinar. But more importantly, why do so many claiming to follow God's path reject the differences God created in other believers? If God forced us to disband by creating difference, then can we not agree that just maybe we are more alike in our core than we realize? Imagine what we can accomplish together as the world begans, or continues, to reunite. What do you think?

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