Summary: Our calling as Christians is to live for others not for ourselves.
The world is truly amazing; we live in a world where we can talk to someone on the other side of the globe almost instantaneously. Communication has never been so simple or readily accessible as it is today. We have our regular phones, fax machines, cell phones, satellite phones, email, tele-conferencing, text messaging, oh yeah and if you want there is still the US Postal Service. No offense to any Postal Workers. The world around us has gotten smaller and smaller because we are able to communicate with more people around the world at any given time than at any other time in the history of man-kind. There are literally hundreds of nations around the world and we can learn about any one of them just by logging onto the internet. We know more about how people live around the world than ever before, and yet somehow we as a people have isolated ourselves like no other time in history.
In the 80’s the mantra was “Its all about me.”
In the 90’s it was, “I don’t have enough.”
Today it seems to be “Mind your own business.” or “I don’t need your troubles”
Over the last few weeks I have begun to read an concentrate on God’s Covenant with Abraham. Here is a portion of the dialogue between God and Abraham.
Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring,
I used to read this much like the Jewish people of old did; God made a covenant with Abraham that Abraham and his descendants would be blessed and be God’s chosen people to be exalted above all others, and their nation would be praised by the other nations. Reading the Covenant this way causes us trouble when we read later on in the Old Testament that God was angry at the Jews, and that he abhorred all of their sacrifices. I could never quite make sense of why God was angry with the Jews for obeying the Law, and sticking to it.
The Jews were even abandoned by God, when he left the Temple. One of the prophets writes that God walked out of Jerusalem, angry with his bridesmaid. What could Israel have done so wrong that God would up and leave his chosen people?
And then it began to occur to me, God was mad at his chosen people because they forgot what they were chosen for.
18 For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. From them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud—which draw the bow—to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 They shall bring all your kindred from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and on mules, and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring a grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take some of them as priests and as Levites, says the LORD.
Israel wasn’t chosen to be the jewel in God’s crown, they were chosen to be vessels of God’s love to the nations. They were chosen to praise God to the nations, so that the nations would turn and give praise to God themselves. But, what ended up happening was that the Jewish people began to keep all of the blessings for themselves. They began to ignore those around them, they sought positions of power and they longed for the day when God would place them as rulers over all the nations. They had taken God’s promises and misunderstood them to the point where they thought that the world existed to serve them when in reality they existed to serve the world.
And now the LORD says,
who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honored in the sight of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength—
6 he says,