After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Rev 7:9-10
.....“And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there------And they said, ‘Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’” The human heart ever seeks a name, a portion, and a centre in the earth. It knows nothing of aspirations after heaven, heaven’s God, or heaven’s glory. Left to itself, it will ever find its objects in this lower world, it will ever “build beneath the skies.” It needs God’s call, God’s revelation, and God’s power, to lift the heart of man above this present world, for man is a groveling creature alienated from heaven, and allied to earth. In the scene now before us, there is no acknowledgment of God, no looking up to, or waiting on, Him; nor was it the thought of the human heart to set up a place in which God might dwell to gather materials for the purpose of building a habitation for Him alas! no; His name is never once mentioned.
.....In looking down along the stream of human history, we may easily perceive a marked tendency to confederacy, or association.....Man seeks, for the most part, to compass his great ends in this way. Whether it be in the way of philanthropy, religion, or politics, nothing can be done without an association of men regularly organized. But, in the judgment of faith, there is one grand defect, namely, God is shut out; and to attempt to exalt man without God, is to exalt him to a dizzy height, only that he may be dashed down into hopeless confusion and irretrievable ruin......
.....“And the Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language....Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.”.....How different it is when God associates men! In the second chapter of Acts, we see the blessed One coming down, in infinite grace, to meet man, in the very circumstances in which his sin had set him. The Holy Ghost enabled the messengers of grace to deliver their message in the very tongue wherein each was born. Precious proof this, that God desired to reach man’s heart with the sweet story of grace! The law from the fiery mount was not thus promulgated. When God was telling what man ought to be, He spoke in one tongue; but when He was telling what He Himself was, He spoke in many. Grace broke through the barrier which man’s pride and folly had caused to be erected, in order that every man might hear and understand the glad tidings of salvation “the wonderful works of God.” And to what end was this? Just to associate men on God’s ground, round God’s centre, and on God’s principles. It was to give them, in reality, one language, one centre, one object, one hope, one life. It was to gather them in such a way as that they never should be scattered or confounded again; to give them a name and a place which should endure forever; to build for them a tower and a city which should not only have their top reaching to heaven, but their imperishable foundation laid in heaven by the omnipotent hand of God Himself. It was to gather them around the glorious Person of a risen and highly exalted Christ, and unite them all in one grand design of magnifying and adoring Him.
.....In Genesis 11, God gives various tongues as an expression of His judgment; in Acts 2, He gives various tongues as an expression of grace; and in Rev. 7, we see all those tongues gathered round the Lamb in glory. How much better it is, therefore, to find our place in God’s association than in man’s! The former ends in glory, the latter in confusion; the former is carried forward by the energy of the Holy Ghost, the latter by the unhallowed energy of fallen man; the former has for its object the exaltation of Christ, the latter has for its object the exaltation of man, in some way or other.
C. H. Mackintosh