Having one language and a small community of people who knew each other (they started with 4 couples emerging from Noah’s ark), the people of the world decided they would build a tower to reach Heaven and make a name for themselves.
Could they have actually built a tower that reached Heaven itself? No – science has shown us that the atmosphere gets way too thin for our oxygen requirements. They would have continued giving it their best effort, futility aside, and sacrificed many of their brothers pushing them to stack the next layer until they passed out & fell to the ground from whatever height they had achieved. This concentration was in direct opposition to the command God had given – He had told them to spread out to explore and fill all the Earth that He had created for us.
We are still in the habit of sacrificing our brothers to focus on some futile effort that will make us famous for a little while, while God is still interested in sending us to all the world to speak of Him. And so, in Genesis, He reset their language centers to a variety of languages, and groups who understood one another clustered together and wandered toward different areas.
Then, many generations later, He gave them a taste of unified understanding on the day of Pentecost. The fledgling church grew, but remained in place, until God allowed (orchestrated?) persecution to scatter them abroad. After all, there were people in other lands who had not yet heard that the Creator loves everyone, and He had specifically given the church the task of going to those people.
He has not rescinded that order (He doesn’t change), yet we as the body of Christ still cluster in like-minded groups and spend our resources building attractive places to draw people together. This isn’t necessarily bad, as together is how we learn and share and polish character. Yet, are we still somewhat guilty of futile focus? Have we obeyed the command to go out?
I really enjoy word play…and it occurred to me while bouncing the idea of ‘obey God’ against pride’s assertion to ‘be God’, that the two opposite verbs have a core in common. O BE Y… BE… the letters left over form a negative expression, ‘OY’. So, the next time you’re toying with the question of whether to obey God, remember that the alternative is to attempt to ‘be’ God, followed by ‘oy!’ and a face-palm (unless you prefer a ‘Gibbs’).