Summary: God’s missionary perspective throughout history challenges us to ask the question: Are we in tune with the heartbeat of God?
THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD
In the church we have many clichés and buzzwords. We have used these phrases so often they have become commonplace. They still have their intellectual meaning, but they have lost their psychological impact.
If you have been in the church for any time at all, you have heard the phrase: “The Plan of God.” You have heard people say that God has a marvelous plan for your life. You have heard sermons about “God’s Plan of Salvation” or “God’s Plan of Redemption.” We all believe that God has a hand in human history. However, we often think of the plan of God as some inevitable outcome that has very little to do with human involvement.
I would like for us to think of God’s plan more in terms of a vision, a dream, a desire, a burning of the heart, a yearning, a passion.
I. ADAM AND EVE.
This yearning of God goes back to the beginning of time. After Adam and Eve, had set the human race on a course of sin, death and corruption, God said to the serpent:
I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel (Gen.3:15).
I like the way the Living Bible puts it.
“From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers. You will strike his heel, but he [the coming Messiah] will crush your head."
God has a passion, a yearning. He wants to crush the head of Satan. He wants to end, the satanic veil of deceit that has fallen over the human race.
He called a man named Abram, later to become Abraham, to be an instrument in the fulfillment of His yearning.
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
"Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth
shall be blessed." (Gen.12:1-3).
The abruptness of this command amazes me. “Get out” …”Go” …Leave” …He offers no alluring motivations or lengthy explanations. When a person has committed him or herself to the Lordship of God and is convinced that the call has come from the Lord, there is no necessity to cajole or entice. Like Abraham, the response is immediate—“So Abraham departed.”
“Get out, go, leave,” the Lord told him.
We might paraphrase this command today in this fashion: “Go, get out, leave! Leave the comfort and security of . . .
Your father’s house,
Your cousins and uncles,
Grandma and grandpa,
Your smooth roads,
Your huge shopping malls,
Your Pizza Hut,
Your Satellite TV with 400 channels,
Your showers with water pressure,
Your microwave ovens,
Your efficient mail delivery system,
Your honest police officers,
Your democratic political systems,
Your lucrative business opportunities,
Your plush carpets,
Your padded pews,
Your multimillion dollar building projects,
“To a land that I will show you. Because I have a yearning for the world”
I find it interesting that God did not tell Abraham about all the trials that he would face. He didn’t tell him about the long trip through scorching deserts. He didn’t mention the resistance he would face from the kings of Canaan (who were not too receptive to the notion that God had given their land to a foreigner they had never heard of before). Nor did he tell him about the greed and selfishness of his nephew Lot, whom he had raised as his own son. Nor did he tell him about how long this land-showing would take!
We learn an important principle here about the yearning of God. The yearning of God requires the cooperation of men. The passion of God, if it is to come to fruition, requires that men become His willing instruments in its fulfillment.
But God does not leave Abraham without a promise of blessing. He says, “I will bless you …”
There is blessing in getting out.
There is privilege attached to God’s plan.
There is gain in going.
“I will be with you, even to the end of the world.” The blessing of His presence is a reality experienced by all who have gone.
I will make you a great nation. This was the ultimate dream of all men of the patriarchal age. To have many children and to one day be called: The father of our nation. Wow! What a promise! What a privilege!