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The First Skyscraper

Genesis 11:1-9; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 117-124


The Message

We serve God when we help people who are different from us.

Memory Verse

“God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34, 35).

Have you ever met someone and could not understand the words they were speaking? That may be because they were speaking a different language. A long time ago, everyone spoke the same language. Then some people disobeyed God. That changed everything.


Long ago, after God created the earth, everyone spoke the same language. They used the same names for everything they had or did. No matter where they lived or where they moved, they could talk to one another and understand each other. As some people moved farther away, they found a beautiful plain called Shinar and decided to live there.

The people of Shinar made bricks and baked them to make them hard. So they used bricks for building instead of stones and tar to hold the bricks together.

One day someone said, “Let’s build for ourselves a city and a tower. And let’s make the top of the tower reach high into the sky.”

Someone else may have said, “We will become famous. We will be able to live in our city forever and will not be scattered all over the earth.”

So people began to gather the materials they needed. They got the bricks and the tar, and they began to build.

All day the people worked hard. They passed the bricks and tar from worker to worker until they reached the bricklayers at the top. Soon the tower grew higher and higher. The people felt very clever.

God watched them build. He was not pleased. At Creation He had told Adam and Eve and He told Noah after the Flood, “Have many children. Fill the earth.”

This meant He wanted their descendants to live all over the earth and not in just one place.

But the people at Shinar weren’t listening to God. They wanted to live in one place. They wanted to do their own thing. They thought they knew better than God, so they disobeyed.

But even though the people were disobeying God, He still cared about them. Each one was still special to Him.

And because He loved them so much, God made a plan to help them do the right thing. He caused the people to use different words for the same thing. He changed their one language to many languages.

“I need more bricks,” a workman may have called. His helper, not understanding him, may have called to the men on the ground, “Send up a load of tar.”

“Water!” the men on the ground may have replied. “We’re sending up water!”

Can you imagine how angry the workers at the top were when the water arrived?

Soon all the workers began to argue and fight. They could not finish their tower. In fact, they couldn’t understand each other well enough to live in the same city.

So, some people moved to the east and some to the west. Some went north and others south. They spread out all over the world in groups that could understand each other. And that is how people speaking different languages came to be.

Today there are many different people all over the world. But: “God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34). He loves and helps everyone, and we should too!