This is a story about putting ourselves before God. When we do that, we are prideful. Pride is the root of a lot of bad things. We will se a couple of them in this story.
After Noah and his family finally came out of the ark. (Remember the flood?) Noah built an alter to God. Noah thanked God and worshipped Him. Then God told Noah to "be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth." So what does that mean? God wanted Noah to have a great big family, so that his children would have great big families. Then God wanted them to move into all different parts of the world. The world is a big place and God wanted everyone to spread out and not stay in one place. We have to remember what God told Noah, because it is important in the tower of Babel story.
A few hundred years after the flood, there were a lot of people on the earth again. Noah had obeyed God and had a lot of children and they had a lot too. Many moved east to the other side of the river (not too far away) and found some nice flat land. Flat land was great for building. The people said "Come let us build a city with a giant tower that reaches all the way up to heaven. We will make a name for ourselves here and we won't end up being scattered around the world." (Gn11:4) God was looking down and knew what the people were planning. He knew that they were not building a tower for Him, but for themselves. God also knew that if they built the tower, the people would not fill the earth (spread out through the whole earth) like he told Noah, because they would stay near the tower.God had a plan. His plan is funny if you think about it. God confused their language so that they couldn't understand each other!(vs.7) Imagine trying to build something and you can't understand your boss or the other workers. If one of the other workers asks you to pass a medium sized brick, but to you it sounds like blah blah blah blah blah, you wouldn't know what to do. Construction on the Tower of Babel had to stop because no one could understand each other. Babel means confused. They were confused all right! Did you ever hear anyone babbling about something. Not making any sense. I have.
So God scattered the people throughout the earth.(vs8) They didn't obey God, so He had to do something to make His plan work. I think God was pretty easy on these guys. He didn't hurt them. They deserved a lot worse. When God doesn't give us what we deserve, it's called mercy. God had mercy on the people building the tower. Has God ever had mercy on you?
Sometimes we put things before God. Things like our toys or games, our friends, or our allowance. Imagine if all of a sudden you spoke a different language than everyone else. You could't play games with your friends, or you could't understand your teachers or your parents. God may not confuse us like he did to the people in this story, but He does try to get our attention in different ways if we are too prideful or disobedient. Have you ever lost a favorite toy. Maybe it was more important than God. God says that if we put him first, He'll make sure about everything else that we need. (Mt6:31)
God gave us talents, when we draw a beautiful picture, write a wonderful story of play terrific music, we have to be careful not to be prideful about what we have done, but instead about what God has done through us. That is called glorifying God. He likes that. (Ps86:12)