A light to the nationsJuly 29, 2020 1 Comment
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” — Isaiah 49:6
Who could fault Israel for wanting God to send the Messiah to save them? When Israel looked around, they saw a people who, well, were a lot alike — they saw each other. After all, they had a shared history, a shared culture, a shared set of values and beliefs, and a shared lifestyle. They shared the same story. And when they looked around, they wanted to share the same Redeemer. Yet, God says to them, “It is too light a thing. I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Israel was chosen for the sake of the world. God did not choose to only bring back the preserved of Israel. That was too light a thing. Israel was to be a light to the nations. God’s electing of Israel meant, at least in part, that they were to be a blessing to all. And how were they to do this? By living their lives out before the surrounding nations as opposed to living in isolation from other nations or assimilating to the surrounding nations.
Israel was called to live and tell God’s story. They were summoned by God to be a contrasting community, living life as God intended it to be. The idols of the surrounding nations had failed to bring shalom (peace, wholeness), and Israel was to offer liberation from idolatrous powers. God’s presence upon Israel was to not just give Israel life, but to distinguish them as a people, so they could be a light to the nations. Israel was to be a “come and join us” people. In the words of theologian Jack Miller, the gospel ran to Israel so that it might run through them.
Let us now bring this a little closer to home. When we look around, do we see a people who, well, are a lot like us? Do we only know people who share our same history, culture, values and beliefs, and lifestyle? Is our story only known by others with the same story? And to get even more personal, do we only share our Redeemer with those same people? Perhaps we want God to save our family members, colleagues, and neighbors. That is good and right! But God says to us, “It is too light a thing. . . . I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
We have been chosen for the sake of the world. We are to be a light to the nations, a blessing to all. And how are we to do this? As a church — by living our lives out before the culture as opposed to living in isolation from the culture or assimilating to the culture.
We are called to live and tell God’s story. We are summoned by God to be a contrasting community, living life as God intended it to be. The idols of our culture have failed to bring shalom, and we are to offer liberation from the idolatrous powers that hold our culture in bondage. God’s presence upon us is not to just give us life, but to distinguish as a people, so that we will be a light to the nations. Christ Presbyterian is to be a “come and join us” people. The gospel has run to us that it might run through us.
We seek to be a church that has a permanent home so that we may better minister to each other and our community, as well as train Godly ministers to plant churches in Central Texas and around the world that will be a light to the nations.
Soli Deo gloria!
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. — Habakkuk 2:14
John Steele Jul 29, 2020 @ 4:07 pm
Great lesson on which way to face and to act
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