What does god reveal to us in the account of the Tower of Babel? He reveals to us that one common sin infects us all, the sin of pride. We think we know better than God, that we can outsmart Him and that we don’t really need Him at all. Look at the people at Babel. They are already the descendants of Ham, who sinned against his father, Noah, by showing off Noah’s nakedness to Shem and Japheth. So now, relatives of a cursed family seek to avoid any further curses from God. The history of the Flood is still common knowledge. They know that it came about because of God’s righteous wrath over the great sin of the people. So instead of intending to amend their ways, the people in Babel come up with a way to avoid any future punishments of God—or so they think. They abuse technology for their own sinful gain by making bricks by a new method and build a tower that reaches to the heavens. That way, should God change His mind and send another earth-covering flood, they can climb the tower and be safe, not in God’s divinely-inspired ark, but by the work of their hands. God sees this rebellion, knows that their future wickedness will know no bounds if left unchecked, and so He limits their collaborative potential by confusing their languages.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.