We Will Sing In One Voice

One of the greatest challenges of living in a foreign country is the language. Of course, the challenges tend to decrease as time goes on and the foreigner starts to get used to the local people’s way of thinking, and how their language works. But, until that time, some funny stories and great misunderstandings are inevitable. I could write a bunch of them about myself on this post, but maybe I will do that in some other opportunity.

What I want to point out in this post is that clear communication can evidence unity. Not necessarily unity for doing good, but a general unity. In Genesis 11, we can see God confusing the language in order to destroy the people’s unity, because they were united to do evil to make their own name known. Before that, “the whole earth used the same language and the same words” (Genesis 11:1). But the Lord said:

“Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.

“Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:6–9 (NASB95)

God used the confusion of languages to avoid unity for sin. I’m not saying that the reason of their sin was having one language. The reason was their wickedness; but speaking the same language was the resource that made their planning together possible. When God took it away, they were scattered.

With His people, God is doing the reverse process, starting from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–21). He is promoting unity for His glorious purposes, through the one and only Word (John 1:1–3). It is amazing to attend a church service in a country that is not yours and worship the same God together, even through a different language. It is incredible to sing the same hymns and the same melodies with words from another language. It all shows unity of purpose in glorifying God, through Jesus, beginning the fulfillment of God’s plan for every tongue to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9–11 

God is redeeming His people’s lips, so that we can serve Him:

“For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,

That all of them may call on the name of the Lord,

To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” Zephaniah 3:9

As Moisés Silva said about this reversing process, “we need not infer that linguistic uniformity is a goal of redemption, but surely the ability to understand each other and thus to praise God in unanimity is very much part of his saving grace to us.”[1]

At the end, as the apostle John heard and described it in Revelation 19, the great multitude of the redeemed will all shout in united voice:

Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” Revelation 19:6

[1] Silva, Moisés. God, language, and Scripture: reading the Bible in the light of general linguistics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1990, chapter 2, page 40.

Lucas Leite
Lucas Leite is a pastoral intern at Faith Church. Born in Brazil, he is currently living in Lafayette-IN to take the M.Div. at Faith Bible Seminary.