As weird as it sounds, in ancient cosmology the peaks of the earth overlapped with the depths of the Heavens. Therefore, you might run into a spiritual being if you moved high enough in elevation. Even the Bible carries this view as God often shows up in mountaintop experiences, be it Eden, Sinai, Mount Zion, the Mount of Transfiguration, or the mountain where Abraham took Isaac.
This helps us better understand the sin committed at the Tower of Babel. These people weren’t spreading out and filling the earth like God said. They were rebelling against God by gathering in one place where they worked to create a manmade-mountain to reach the gods. This building was a “stairway to Heaven”—one of the ziggurats of ancient Babel-on. As punishment for this rebellion, God separated everyone by their languages, forcing them into different nations that spread out across the land.
But after Jesus, God reversed the Tower of Babel. The people who built this tower were all in one place against the orders of God, but the earliest Christians were all in one place to honor the orders of God. And when the Holy Spirit finally arrived, one of the first things he did was give these Christians the same languages that he once separated the world with. Jews from all across those nations happened to be in town for the holiday and heard the greatness of God declared in the tongues of the nations they lived in. They would then take this Christian message back home with them where it spread even more. And then God called the disciples to go even further and reach all the non-Jewish people of the world, establishing a movement founded on intentional antiracism. The tongues that once divided the nations had now been given back to reunite the nations under the one true God.
The offer of Jesus is always on the table. Come back to the one true God who displayed his love for us by dying for us even while we were his enemies. God loves you and has gone to deepest depths of the cosmos to display this truth.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 2:1-21 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.