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May 28 Devotion: Many Languages, One God

1).  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2).  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  3).  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them.  4).  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  5).  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  6).  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.  7).  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaens?  8).  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  9).  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, in Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  10).  Phyrgia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya around Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  11).  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

                                                                          ACTS 2:1-11

Pentecost is most often associated with the Holy Spirit’s arrival. But it also demonstrates God’s remarkable ability to redeem. 

To understand just how amazing Pentecost was, we need to go all the way back to Genesis 11, when everyone “used the same language” and were “one people” (Genesis 1, 11). Their problem wasn’t unity—it was self-idolatry. God had said to fill the earth, but they instead built a city and tower to “make a name” for themselves and prevent being scattered (Gen. 11:4). Only after God confused their languages at Babel did they disperse as He had ordered.

Pentecost offers an amazing contrast. The disciples waited in Jerusalem, as Jesus commanded. (Acts 1:4-5). The crowd was “amazed and astonished” to hear their different languages united in meaning (2:6-7). “We hear them,” they said to one another, “speaking in our own tongues of the mighty deeds of God” (verse 11).

That harmony of praise in Jerusalem redeemed the confusion at Babel. And while the church was also “scattered” after that, believers took persecution as an opportunity to sow seeds for the gospel (Acts:1, 4, 5, 19). Their obedience made it possible for us today to declare “the mighty deeds of God.” And one day people “from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages” will sing of the salvation of God and the Lamb (Revelation 7:9-10).  



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