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What Does The Bible Say About Missions

“To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map. ” — William Carey “The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible. ” — Ralph Winter, Missiologist God is a missionary God. He always has been, right from the beginning—and He always will be. He has always sought to have a people in which He can shower His love and reflect His glory. He did that with His people, Israel; He is doing it today with His church; and throughout eternity, the saved will honor and glorify Him.

In this chapter, we’ll look at several examples from the Old and New Testaments which will help us understand the Bible’s basis for missions. In Genesis 3:8, after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, the Lord God was walking in the garden seeking their fellowship. He is committed to seeking us even when we have cut ourselves off from Him through disobedience. He has the best in mind for you and me. He is so dedicated to our needs and has such a desire to reach us, that He does whatever it takes to get us back together again. The Lord God took an animal and sacrificed it so Adam and Eve could be clothed.

It pointed to the great sacrifice of His beloved Son at Calvary so that we all might have the opportunity to be clothed in righteousness and glory. The Bible is a missions book from the table of contents to the maps in the back. God is a missionary God seeking the lost, restoring His people and offering forgiveness. The Old Testament is filled with God declaring His glory to the nations. God is a missionary and continually wants to send people out in His name and for His glory. The same plan remains from the beginning until today.

God called out Abram, changed his life and his name, then used him to create a new nation of people for His glory. Abraham was an ordinary man who had a mighty relationship with God and there is much to learn from him; his faith and trust, his role as progenitor of God’s chosen people, his implicit obedience. He is an excellent example of those who were ready to answer God’s call whatever the cost. Moses – A Challenging Example When the children of Israel were lost in Egypt, Moses eventually followed the command of the Lord God and went and rescued them. He was the one who brought them new beginnings in a land of milk and honey.

Moses is an interesting example of how God works and we don’t. Can you imagine the CV Moses had covering his early life? He had a charmed beginning as a result of a clever, concerned mother who hid him from the vengeful Pharaoh. She shrewdly set herself up as his nurse and caregiver and even got paid to do it. Moses was raised as a prince in the palace of the most powerful and wealthy king of his time. Clearly he spent time in the gym and such were his skills that he could take on an Egyptian—who would have, as a minimum, a whip—and dispatch him bare-handedly.

Somehow, his heroics got to the great Pharaoh’s ear and he set out to kill Moses. It would have taken more than luck to escape this ruthless, barbaric leader. Moses took off for Midian, hundreds of miles away and across the Red Sea. This was good preparation for what was to come many years later. Midian was a tough, cruel place, almost devoid of vegetation and any rain. The people who lived there adapted, but it developed a ruggedness and independence that was to help turn the palace boy into a doughty leader. In Midian, people stayed close to a well. It was vital for survival, but also the place where they meet the locals.

The next scene from Exodus 2:16 is the stuff of movies. It doesn’t take much imagination. Seven young ladies, the daughters of a priest and a farmer, arrived at the well to fill their water pots and supply drink for their sheep and goats. Watching was this newly bronzed young stranger with a handsome physique. Can’t you hear the chatter, giggling and banter? Who was going to make the first move? The decision was made for them. Some hooligan shepherds arrived, jealous over the water supply, and they tried to drive these seven, young maidens away—but Moses was up to it. You can imagine the scene.

The superb, trained athlete against the ragtag shepherds. A few quick blows and the cowardly shepherds were gone. Moses, now the gentleman, keen to impress, fetched the water for the girls. It was all a bit much for them. Overcome by shyness, they ran for home. Their father enquired how it was they were home so early. Again, imagine the scene as seven girls were falling over each other, all talking over one another trying to describe the rescue and tell their father about the handsome stranger who even drew the water they needed. Their father rightly asked why they didn’t ask him home for some desert hospitality.

He probably figured he could find a husband for at least one of his daughters. What fun—seven girls going back to find their new hero and ask him for a meal. If you were Moses, would you say “no”? Of course not. The desert is an unforgiving place and not a place to be homeless or on one’s own. What a win for Moses—he gets a roof over his head (probably a goatskin), he gets a job, and he gets a wife. All seems fine. A son is born and Moses has his feet well and truly under the table. Forty years pass. Did Moses let his fitness—both spiritual and physical—slip?

Where were his heart and mind when God came calling? The Lord God—Yahweh—had plans, and the plan did not involve Moses growing old in the land of Midian working for his father-in-law. In one of those well-known Sunday school stories that we learned as kids, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush that was not consumed—an unusual miracle (Exodus 3:2). Yahweh called Moses from the bush and shared His heart for His people back in Egypt. “I hear their cries,” the Lord told him. “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt and into a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses was far from impressed. He had settled into a sweet life with his wife and family, his home and job. He objected. “Who am I that you should ask me? ” he whines. “Who will I say sent me? ” More excuses. “What if they don’t believe me? ” Moses wasn’t going to give in easily. “Lord, I am not a very convincing speaker. I am no orator. ” Yahweh batted away his excuses one by one. As a last resort, Moses demanded, “Anyone but me Lord. Can’t you find someone else for the job? ” I must say, when I hear how Moses reacted, it rings a familiar bell for me.

How often has the Lord spoken from His Word and I have felt that call to be His servant, only to find a heap of excuses and suggest there are others better equipped for the task. I am not just referring to the once only call that some may receive to dedicate the rest of their life to Christ’s service, but the everyday calls He makes of us to serve Him. I know I have found a way of turning down that small voice of the Holy Spirit when He has made plain His desire for me. Is that where you are? Have you done a “Moses” when God puts a task in front of you, even a small task where little sacrifice is involved?

Have you found a way of extinguishing that call, that request, snuffing out the Lord’s voice? You may not have seen the Lord in a burning bush or heard His voice audibly, but you know in your heart that He has made His requests very clear, and you also know you have brushed Him away with excuses. Today is a good time to stop and put matters right. Get back into His Word and plead for Him to make you aware of His voice and His desires for you, whether they are big, life changing requests, or the smaller everyday steps of obedience needed to be in fellowship with Him.

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