Saturday, September 22, 2007

God's Heart for the Nations

I have been considering for the last couple weeks how to view the average disciple’s responsibility to the world. God calls his children to adopt his heart. We should want what he wants. We should yearn for what he yearns. We should aim for what he aims. Jesus taught his disciples to pray:

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

We call for the realities of God’s kingdom to be imposed on this world. For God to infuse his DNA into the structure of the world, and cell by cell, to transform it.

Modern Jesus-followers has come to picture this as a type of “sharia” being imposed on the land. This seems to me to be a type of religious spirit. Disciples assuming the same mind-set as Islamic radicals. Maybe with a gentler face, but with the same constraints on behavior − rather than an inner transform.

God’s picture is very different in a number of ways. One of his pictures can be described this way:

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne, and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice.

“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”

From the beginning, God’s heart has been for the nations – recreated by a heart transformation. And God’s role for his family has been the same, whether it is the church or the nation of Israel.

  • As priests, mediating between God and the world.
  • As a blessing, taking what God has given us and sharing it with the world.
  • As witnesses, declaring what we have seen, heard and experienced.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine on us, that your ways may be known on the earth, your salvation among the nations.

I tend to interpret the phrase about God’ face as a reference to experiencing his presence. If that is true, and worship is in its essence communion with God, (being in his presence) then, at least one purpose of worship is a proclamation to the nations of the nature of God, and what it means to live with and for him.

(I can see it could be a reiteration of God bestowing blessing on his family. Sill, many speak of God’s presence with us as one of the primary blessings of having a relation with him. And worship is often described in terms of communion and intimacy. Then, intimacy with God becomes one of the primary weapons of the gospel and kingdom propagation – at least, one that transforms our hearts to be like his heart.)

It may not be God’s desire for all of his children to travel to the “uttermost parts,” but it is his desire for them to have his heart. And we can see his heart by his expectation that all nations will be present with him, united together for eternity. And this should be our heart too.