The articles and study guide lessons in this document are copyrighted material. They are made available for the preparation of instructors teaching within the Perspectives Study Program. If you would like to use the article in any other way, permission must be sought from William Carey Library (the publisher) at email@example.com.Lesson 2: The Story of His GloryKey ReadingsJohannes Verkuyl The Biblical Foundation for the Worldwide Missions Mandate 42Steven C. Hawthorne The Story of His Glory 49Jonathan Lewis Two Forces (in Bosch, Witness to the World) 80Certificate ReadingsJohn Piper Let the Nations Be Glad 64Tim Dearborn Beyond Duty 70Henry T. Blackaby and On Mission with God 74Avery T. WillisMiriam Adeney Is God Colorblind or Colorful? 415Erich Sauer Created to Create Culture 417 (in Adeney, Is God Color Blind or Colorful?)Credit ReadingsDavid Bosch Witness to the World 78Jim Montgomery His Glory Made Visible: Saturation Church Planting 660Wolfgang Simson The Shopping Window of God 661 (in Montgomery, His Glory Made Visible)
The Biblical Foundation for theWorldwide Mission MandateJohannes Verkuyl T he 20th century has produced a steady stream of literature which regards the Old Testament as an indispensable and irreplaceable base for the Church’s missionary task among the nations and peoples of this world. As one who has made frequent use of the literature, I wish to look at four motifs in the Old Testament which form the indispensable basis for the New Testament call to the Church to engage in worldwide mission work: the universal motif, the motif of rescue and saving, the missionary motif and the antagonistic motif. The Universal Motif The God who in the Old Testament identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and who discloses to Moses his personal name, Yahweh, is the God of the whole world. The experience of a few patriarchs and later the one nation of Israel with this God expands to include the horizon of the entire world. We shall cite only a few of the Old Testa- ment passages to illustrate this universal motif. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 Genesis 10, with its passage listing the table of nations, is Johannes important for understanding the universal motif of the Old Verkuyl was Testament. Gerhard von Rad described it as the conclusion formerly to the history of the Creation. All of the nations issue forth Professor and from the creative hand of God and stand under his watchful Head of the eye of patience and judgment. The nations are not mere Department of decorations incidental to the real drama between God andMissiology and Evangelism at the man; rather, the nations—that is, mankind as a whole—areFree University of Amsterdam. part of the drama itself. God’s work and activity are directedIn 1940, he went to Indonesia at the whole of humanity.and served as a missionary for This is one of the fundamental truths of Genesis 1-11,many years. When Japan invaded the record of history’s beginning; it is also found induring WWII, he refused to the moving account of history’s end, the book of John’sleave and spent three years in a Revelation. The very God who revealed himself to IsraelJapanese concentration camp. and dwelt among us in Jesus Christ identifies himself asHe has authored over 250 books the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.and articles. He does not lay down his work until “every tongue and nation” and “a multitude without number” have beenFrom Contemporary Missiology: gathered round his throne (Rev 5:9-10; 7:9-17). God isAn Introduction, 1978. Used by cutting a path directly through the weary and ploddingpermission of Wm B. Eerdmans activities of men in history in order to achieve his goalsPublishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI. among the nations.42 Chapter 7
Johannes Verkuyl 43 God’s Election of Israel with His Eye the prophets came to see how closely the on the Nations career of Israel was tied in with the history of After the Bible finishes its account of God’s the nations. Out of the judgment which Israel judgment of the nations, so graphically de- was feeling, there blossomed the eager hope scribed in the Genesis passage about the of a new covenant, a new exodus, another Tower of Babel, it shifts in chapter 12 to Son of David. Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah all God’s call to Abraham to leave Ur of the saw the horizon expanding and bore witness Chaldees. The “God of the whole earth” that all nations now fall within the spotlight seems at first glance to narrow his interests of God’s promises. The apocalyptic vision of to the private history of one family and tribe Daniel predicts the coming of the Son of Man only, but in actuality, nothing could be farther whose kingdom shall put an end to the brut- from the truth. In de Groot’s words, “Israel ish kingdoms of the world and whose domain is the opening word in God’s proclaiming shall include all peoples (Dan 7:1-29). salvation, not the Amen.” 1 For a time Israel, the “people of Abra- The Motif of Rescue and Liberation ham,” is separated God chose Israel from the other na- Yahweh, the Redeemer of Israel tions (Ex 19:3ff.; The soteriological (having to do with salva- with the intention Deut 7:14ff.), but tion) theme of the Bible, that is, God’s work ofthat she would speak only so that through rescuing and saving both Israel and the other Israel God can pave nations, is tied closely to the theme of uni- to the other nations. the way toward versalism. Yahweh, the God of all the earth, achieving his world- displayed his love and kept his word to Israel embracing goals. In choosing Israel as a seg- by freeing her from the bonds of slavery with ment of all humanity, God never took his eye his strong and outstretched arm (see Deut off the other nations; Israel was a minority 9:26; 13:5; 15:15; 24:18). This was a basic part of called to serve the majority.2 Israel’s credo and crucial to understanding the God’s election of Abraham and Israel con- first commandment. This God—the one who cerns the whole world. He deals so intensely saves and frees—alone is God. “You shall have with Israel precisely because he is maintaining no other gods before me” (Ex 20). This credo his personal claim on the whole world. To transformed Israel from being merely one speak to this world in the fullness of time, he nation among others into the chosen commu- needed a people. Countless recent studies are nity which owes its very existence to God’s act emphasizing this very point: God chose Israel of deliverance and returns its praises to him in in preparation for the complete unwrapping psalms and prayers of thanksgiving. and disclosure of his universal intentions. God chose Israel with the intention that Yahweh, the Redeemer of the Nations she would speak to the other nations. When- The prophets of Israel grew increasingly ever Israel forgot this and turned away from aware that not only Israel would share in the nations in introverted pride, prophets like God’s acts of redemption. God would break Amos, Jeremiah and Isaiah lashed out at the in to restore his liberating Lordship over the people’s ethnocentric pretension and charged entire world of the nations. them with subverting God’s actual intentions The other nations make their pilgrimage (see especially Amos 9:9-10). back to Zion, the mountain of the Lord. The prophets picture the people of the other The Breakthrough of the nations as returning to Jerusalem, where the Universal Motif in the Exile God of Israel shall appear as the God of all Israel’s experiences during the 7th and 6th the peoples (see Isa 2:1-4; Mic 4:1-4; Jer 3:17; centuries b.c. opened her eyes to God’s uni- Isa 25:6-9; Isa 60; Zech 8:20ff). versal intentions. As Israel passed through Several psalms chant this theme, too. her catastrophic experience of being trounced Psalm 87 proclaims Jerusalem as the ecu- by the Babylonians and carted off into exile, menical city whose citizens shall some day
44 Chapter 7 Biblical Foundation for mission mandateinclude inhabitants of the various nations, and justice, Israel now has the correspondingeven from those nations who once most duty to live as the people of God among theardently opposed the God of Israel. They other nations in order to show them his grace,shall join in celebrating God’s restored mercy, justice, and liberating power. Timefellowship with the peoples. and time again the prophets recorded their deep disappointment over Israel’s continualGod’s Method of Achieving Liberation sabotage of her divine calling. But howeverThe Bible also describes the means God is hot their righteous anger burned againstusing to bring salvation to Israel and the Israel’s disobedience, the prophets kept onnations. No other Old Testament passage reminding Israel to the very end of herprobes more deeply into this matter than mandate to be present among the peoplethe so-called “Servant” songs of Isaiah 40-55. as distinct people and a royal priesthood.These Servant songs make unmistakable It is worth noting that since the Secondreference to the spread of salvation through World War, a number of missiologists havethe whole world. The Servant shall carry it urged Christian presence as one of theto the ends of the earth (Isa 49:6), and he will leading methods of engaging in today’snot stop until righteousness prevails through- mission work. For a variety of reasons and inout the earth. The coastlands are awaiting his a variety of manners, they claim that the mostinstruction (Isa 42:4). suitable form of witness lies in simply being The fourth Servant song in chapter 53 a specific kind of people while living amonguncovers the secret of how the Servant of the other people. This is not the place to developLord shall discharge his mission. This deeply this idea further but only to point out that themoving passage depicts the Servant becoming idea that presence is witness has deep roots ina victim of the most savage human butchery. the Old Testament. The prophets continuallyEvery kind of mistreatment human minds claimed that by her very act of living out hercan devise shall be done to him. However, divine appointment to serve, Israel becomes athe Servant also at that point shall be acting sign and bridge for the other nations.as a substitute who is incurring the judgment However, I do not believe it is correct toof God which was properly due not only to view the missionary motif only in terms ofIsrael but to all peoples and nations. More- the concept of presence. I simply do notover, this passage describes the nations as understand why various writers makeYahweh’s gifts to the Servant in return for such a point of avowing that the Old Testa-his willing obedience to suffer death. He ment makes absolutely no mention of aachieved the right to bring salvation and missionary mandate.healing to all people. Then there is that striking number of in- dividuals who left their heathen origins andThe Missionary Motif by word-and-deed witness were won over toConnected with the other two Old Testament trust and serve the living God who had shownmotifs mentioned previously is the missionary them mercy. The stories of Melchizedek, Ruth,motif. The prophets never tire of reminding Job, the people of Nineveh described in theIsrael that her election is not a privilege which book of Jonah, and many others in the Oldshe may selfishly keep for herself; election is Testament are windows, as it were, througha call to service. It involves a duty to witness which we may look out on the vast expanseamong the nations. Israel must be a sign to of people outside the nation of Israel and hearthe other nations that Yahweh is both Creator the faint strains of the missionary call to alland Liberator. One Servant song (Isa 49:6) people already sounding forth.refers to Israel’s mandate to become a light to The wisdom literature of the Old Testa-the nations. ment is similar in both form and content to Virtually every author who attempts to both Greek and Egyptian cultures. Withoutexplain this call to Israel comes up with doubt, her own literature served Israel as athe concept of presence. Chosen by God means of communicating her beliefs to theto become the special recipients of his mercy other nations.
Johannes Verkuyl 45 Moreover, there is no other way of explain- The Old Testament ties the antagonisticing the powerful missionary impact of Juda- motif closely with the doxological theme: theism during the Diaspora3 than to affirm that glory of Yahweh-Adonai shall be revealedthose dispersed Jews from their earliest days had among all peoples. Then every human beingheard and understood their call to witness shall come to know him as he really is, thedirectly as well as by their presence. “gracious and merciful God, slow to get angry, full of kindness, and always willing to turnThe Motif of Antagonism back from meting out disaster” (Jonah 4:1-2).The above list of Old Testament missionarymotifs is incomplete. Intricately connected The Book of Jonahwith each of those mentioned above is The book of Jonah is so significant for under-the antagonistic motif, that is, Yahweh’s standing the biblical basis of mission becausepowerful wrestling against those powers it treats God’s mandate to his people regard-and forces which oppose his liberating and ing the Gentile peoples and thus serves as thegracious authority. preparatory step to the missionary mandate The whole Old Testament (and the New of the New Testament. But it is also importantTestament as well) is filled with descriptions for catching a glimpse of the deep resistanceof how Yahweh-Adonai, the covenant God this mandate encounters from the very ser-of Israel, is waging war against those forces vant Yahweh has chosen to discharge hiswhich try to thwart and subvert his plans for worldwide work.his creation. He battles against those false Today there is much talk and writing aboutgods which human beings have fashioned “educating the congregation” and “educatingfrom the created world, idolized, and used personnel” for mission. Jonah is a lesson infor their own purposes. Think, for example, educating a person to be a missionary: itof the Baals and the Ashtaroth, whose wor- reveals the need for a radical conversionshipers elevated nature, the tribe, the state of one’s natural tendencies and a completeand the nation to a divine status. God fights restructuring of his life to make it serviceableagainst magic and astrology which, according for mission.to Deuteronomy, bend the line between Godand his creation. He contends against every Background of the Bookform of social injustice and pulls off every The title of the book is the personal name of thecloak under which it seeks to hide (see Amos unwilling prophet, Jonah, and harks back to theand Jeremiah, for example). days of King Jeroboam II (787-746 b.c.), when a The whole of the Old Testament burns prophet named Jonah ben Amittai was living.with a feverish desire to defeat these oppos- The author uses this personal name to portraying powers. There are grand visions of that for his readers a missionary who has no heartcoming kingdom where every relationship for the Gentiles and who, like the later Phari-is properly restored and when the whole sees, cannot tolerate a God who shows themof creation—people, animals, plants, and mercy. In the words of the Dutch author Mis-every other creature—will be in perfect kotte, “the writer intends to picture a personaccord with God’s intentions for it (see Isa 2, who is the exact opposite of an apostle.” TheMic 4, and Isa 65). The Old Testament longs author of Jonah warns his readers againstfor this kingdom’s final revealing and this intolerant attitude and sets before eachcategorically states its promise that Yahweh of them the question of whether he or she isshall indeed finally overcome. This too is a willing to be transformed into a servant whohighly significant theme for missionary par- works to accomplish the mandates of God.ticipation. To participate in mission is quite As the author sees it, Israel has becomeimpossible unless one also wages war so preoccupied with herself that she no longeragainst every form of opposition to God’s directs her eyes toward the world of the na-intentions wherever it be found, whether tions. Israel, the recipient of all God’sin churches, the world of the nations, or revelation, refuses to set foot in alien territoryone’s own life. to tell the other peoples God’s message of
46 Chapter 7 Biblical Foundation for mission mandatejudgment and liberation. But the message of but the disobedient Jonah sleeps in the bottomthe book also is addressed to the New Testa- of the boat, oblivious of the fact that thement congregation which tries various ways storm is directed at him. At times the Church,of evading her Lord’s command to speak his too, sleeps right through the storm of God’smessage to the world. judgment passing over the world, assuring Jonah’s crafty evasion efforts represent a herself that the wind outside has nothing tolazy and unfaithful Church which does not do with her. While the crew vainly searchesheed its Lord’s command. God has to wrestle for the storm’s cause, Jonah confesses that heagainst Israel’s narrow ethnocentrism which worships and fears the God who made bothtries to restrict his activity to the boundaries the sea and the dry land, the one God whoof Israel alone and against the Church’s eccle- is above all nations. This God, he claims, issiocentric refusal to go out into the world to bringing a charge against him, and the onlyproclaim God’s message and do his work. The way to quiet the waters is to throw him intowriter is bent on convincing his readers that the sea. In this scene the crew represents thethe radius of God’s liberating activity is wide Gentiles, a people for whom Jonah is totallyenough to cover both Israel and the Gentiles. unconcerned, and yet who themselves are It is a miracle that Jonah, with its strong interested in sparing his life. After a secondwarning against ethnocentrism, ever made its order from Jonah, they throw him overboardway into the canon of Scripture. It squarely and the storm ceases. Scarcely able to believesets forth man’s attempt to sabotage God’s their eyes, the sailors break forth in praise toworldwide plans so that its readers—Israel, the God of Jonah. Their obedience surpassesthe New Testament Church, and us—can hear that of the saboteur Jonah: they are more openwhat the Holy Spirit is trying to tell them to God than the very prophet himself.through the medium of this little book. The third scene (1:17) describes a large fish which, at Yahweh’s instructions, opensA Short Review of the Book’s Eight Scenes its mouth to swallow Jonah and spew himThe first scene opens with Jonah receiving the onto the shore at the appropriate time. Jonahcommand to go to Nineveh. While the Old simply cannot escape God’s missionary man-Testament usually appeals to the other nations date. The God who whipped up the stormyto come to Zion, the mountain of God, Jonah, winds and directed the sailors to accomplishlike the disciples of the New Testament (cf. his purposes now guides a fish as part ofMatt 28:18-20), is told to go! The Septuagint his plan to save Nineveh. Yahweh continuestranslation (an early version of the Old Testa- his work of reforming and preparing hisment in Greek) of Jonah uses the word poreuo- missionary to be a fit instrument in his plans.mai (Greek term for “go”) in 1:2-3 and again in In the fourth scene (2:1-10), Jonah implores3:2-3, the very same verb used by Jesus in his God to rescue him from the belly of the fish.Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28. He who had no mercy on the Gentiles and Where must Jonah go? To Nineveh, of all refused to acknowledge that God’s promisesplaces. Nineveh, a very center of totalitarian- extended to them now appeals for divineism, brutality, and warlike attitudes. To mercy, and by quoting lines from variousNineveh, notorious for the shameful hound- psalms, pants after those promises claimed bying, vicious torture, and imperialist brazen- worshipers in God’s temple.ness it reserved for those who chose to oppose Yahweh reacts. He speaks to the bruteits policies. God wants his servant to warn beast and Jonah lands on shore safe andNineveh of impending judgment and to call sound. By his very rescue, Jonah was un-her to repentance. He wants to save Nineveh! wittingly a witness of God’s saving mercy. But Jonah refuses. He prepares himself, to Though covered with seaweed, Jonah wasbe sure, but only to flee from the face of God nonetheless a testimony that God takes nowho is Lord over all. delight in the death of sinners and saboteurs In the second scene, God responds to but rather rejoices in their conversion.Jonah’s flight by sending a mighty storm In the fifth scene (3:1-4), God repeats his(1:4-16). The wind obeys Yahweh’s commands, order to the man whose very life affirms the
Johannes Verkuyl 47truth of what he confessed in the belly of the The forty-day period of repentance has passed,fish: “Salvation is from Yahweh.” The Sep- but since God has changed his mind about de-tuagint uses the term kerygma in 3:1-2ff. That stroying it, the city continues to be nourishedsingle word summarizes Jonah’s mission: he by Yahweh’s grace and mercy. Jonah is furiousmust proclaim that Nineveh, however godless that God has extended his mercy beyond theshe may be, is still the object of God’s concern, borders of Israel to the Gentiles. He wanted aand unless she repents, she will be destroyed. God cut according to his own pattern: a cold,His message must be one of threat as well as hard, cruel-natured god with an unbendingpromise, of judgment as well as gospel. will set against the heathen. He cannot stand to In the sixth scene (3:5-10), Nineveh think of the Gentiles as part of salvation history.responds to Jonah’s appeal to repent. The This is Jonah’s sin—the sin of a missionaryproud, despotic kingsteps down from hisroyal throne, exchang- Yahweh is faithful to his promises. Still today his willes his robes for dust for Moscow and Peking, for London and Amsterdamand ashes, and enjoinsevery man and animal is no less “gracious and full of mercy” than it was for Nineveh.to follow his example.What Israel continually refused to do the whose heart is not in it. He who once pleadedheathen Gentiles did do: the cruel king of with God for mercy from the desolate isola-Nineveh stands as anti-type to the disobedi- tion of a fish’s belly now is angry that this Godent kings of Judah. shows mercy to the nations. He vents his fury The people join the king in repenting. They in the form of a prayer found in 4:2, the keycease all their devilish work and the terrifying text of the whole book: “And he prayed to theand coercing engines of political injustice Lord, ‘This, O Lord, is what I feared when I wascome to a halt. In deep penitence they turn in my own country, and to forestall it I tried toaway from idols to serve the God who is escape to Tarshish: I knew that thou art a gra-Lord of every nation and all creation. All this cious and compassionate God, long-sufferingbecomes possible because Yahweh is God. and ever constant, and always willing to repentThe world of the heathen is a potentially pro- of the disaster.’” Part of the text comes from anductive mission field for no other reason than ancient Israelite liturgy which every Israelitethis: He alone is God. knew by heart and could rattle off in worship The curtain closes on this scene with these at the temple or synagogue while half-asleepamazing words: “God saw what they did, and (cf. Ex 34:6; Pss 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Neh 9:17).how they abandoned their wicked ways, and But Jonah cannot stand to think that this liturgyhe repented and did not bring upon them the is true not only for Jerusalem, the location ofdisaster he had threatened.” Yahweh is faithful God’s temple, but for other places as well—Ni-to his promises. Still today his will for Moscow neveh, Sao Paulo, Nairobi, New York and Paris.and Peking, for London and Amsterdam is no Why is Jonah really so angry? For no otherless “gracious and full of mercy” than it was reason than that God is treating those outsidefor Nineveh. To borrow from Luther, who his covenant the same as he is those within. Butloved to preach from the book of Jonah, the left Jonah’s anger in effect is putting himself out-hand of God’s wrath is replaced by his right side the covenant, for he obstinately refuses tohand of blessing and freedom. acknowledge the covenant’s purpose—to bring The seventh scene (4:1-4) recounts the fact salvation to the heathen. He had not yet learnedthat the greatest hurdle to overcome in dis- that Israel could not presume upon some spe-charging the missionary mandate was not the cial favors from God. Both Israel and the Gen-sailors, nor the fish, nor Nineveh’s king and tiles alike live by the grace which the Creatorcitizenry, but rather Jonah himself—the recal- gives to all of his creatures. So God comes to hiscitrant and narrow-minded Church. Chapter 4 prophet, but no longer as a covenant partner;describes Jonah, who has long since departed he comes as the Creator and asks his creature:the city to find shelter east of the borders. “Do you have a right to be so angry?”
48 Chapter 7 Biblical Foundation for mission mandate In the eighth and last scene (4:5-11), one and their obedience is still an open one. can see God still working to teach his thick- The question is one which every generation skulled missionary his lessons. He did not of Christians must answer for itself. Jacques catch the point of the storm, the sailors, the Ellul closes his book, The Judgment of Jonah, fish, and Nineveh’s conversion because he with these words: “The Book of Jonah has no did not want to. Now Yahweh tries one more conclusion, and the final question of the book approach—the miraculous tree. A climbing has no answer, except from the one who real- gourd springs up quickly, offers Jonah protec- izes the fullness of the mercy of God and who tion against the beating sun, but as quickly factually and not just mythically accomplishes withers and dies, the victim of an attacking the salvation of the world.” 3 worm. Jonah is peeved. The New Testament Church must pay close At that point God again turns to his mis- heed to the message of Jonah’s book. Jesus sionary-student, using the tree as his object Christ is “One greater than Jonah” (Matt 12:39- lesson. The very God who directs the whole 41; Luke 11:29-32). His death on the cross with course of history, rules the wind and waves its awful cry of God-forsakenness and his res- and turned Nineveh’s millions to repentance urrection with its jubilant shout of victory are now asks tenderly: “Are you so angry over the signs of Jonah for us, pointing to the profound gourd? You are sorry about the gourd, though meaning of his whole life and clearly attest- you had nothing to do with growing it, a plant ing that God loved the whole world so much. which came up in a night and withered in a If a person draws his lifeblood from the one night. And should not I be sorry for the great greater than Jonah and yet declines to spread city of Nineveh, with its 120,000 who cannot the Good News among others, in effect, he is tell their right hand from their left, and cattle sabotaging the aims of God himself. Jonah is without number?” father to all those Christians who desire the God spares and rescues. Jerusalem’s God benefits and blessings of election but refuse its is Nineveh’s as well. Unlike Jonah, he has no responsibility. Thomas Carlisle’s poem, “You “Gentile complex.” And while he never forces Jonah,” closes with these lines: any one of us, he tenderly asks us to put our And Jonah stalked whole heart and soul into the work of mission. to his shaded seat God is still interested in transforming obstinate, and waited for God irritable, depressive, peevish Jonahs into heralds to come around of the Good News which brings freedom. to his way of thinking. The book ends with an unsettling question And God is still waiting for a host of Jonahs which is never answered: “God reached his goal in their comfortable houses to come around with Nineveh, but what about Jonah?” No one to his way of loving. knows. The question of Israel and the ChurchEndnotes1. A. de Groot, De Bijbel over het Heil der Volken (Roermond: Romens, 1964).2. See J. Verkuyl, Break Down the Walls, trans. and ed. Lewis B. Smedes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), p. 40.3. Editors Note: The term “Diaspora” refers to a period marked by the voluntary and involuntary scattering or dispersion of the Jewish people into other nations between the destruction of the first temple in 581 B.C. and the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D. The Diaspora synagogues were eager to attract converts to Judaism. Many Jewish scibes were funded to travel to enlist and to instruct new proselytes from Gentile backgrounds as described by Jesus in Matt 23:15.4. Jacques Ellul, The Judgment of Jonah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), p. 103.Study Questions1. Explain the four motifs in the Old Testament that, according to Verkuyl, form the basis for the New Testament call to worldwide mission: the universal motif, the motif of rescue and saving, the missionary motif, and the antagonistic motif. Give examples of each.2. Verkuyl calls the book of Jonah a lesson in educating a person to be a missionary. Explain what he means, and give examples from the story of Jonah.
The Story of His GlorySteven C. Hawthorne T he Bible is basically a story about God. When we turn to the Bible as a self-help book, we end up bored or frustrated with what seems to be a rambling collec- tion of stories. What if the Bible is more about God than it is about us? How thrilling to discover that every element of scripture—the reports of events, the verses of distilled wisdom, the lyrical prophecies—converge in one central saga of one worthy Person. We’re used to the idea that the Bible is a true story. It’s so true that the story is still unfolding to this minute. We are used to hearing that the Bible is a love story. But we tend to see only one side of the love: how God loves people. If the main point of the Bible is that God is to be loved with heart, soul, mind and strength, perhaps it would be wise to read the entire story from God’s point of view. When we look at it all from God’s viewpoint, the grand love story finally makes sense: God is not just loving people. He is transform- ing them to become people who can fully love Him. God is drawing people as worshipers to offer freely to Him their love-inspired glory. God can be loved only when He is known. That’s why the story of the Bible is the story of God revealing Himself in order to draw to Himself obedient worship, or glory, from the nations. With God’s passionate love at the core, the Bible is truly the story of His glory. BASIC CONCEPTS OF GLORY Steven C. Hawthorne To trace the story of God as the Bible presents it, we need a is Director of grasp of three related ideas which define the story at every WayMakers, juncture: glory, the name of God and worship. a mission and prayer Glorymobilization ministry. After Don’t be thrown off by the religious-sounding word “glory.”co-editing the Perspectives Glory is the relational beauty that every person’s heartcourse and book in 1981, yearns to behold and even to enter. The word “glory” inhe launched “Joshua Project,” scripture refers to the essential worth, beauty and value ofa series of research expeditions people, created things and, of course, the Creator Himself.among unreached peoples in The Hebrew word for glory is a word meaning weight,Asia and the Middle East. He substance, and at the same time, brilliance or radiant beauty.also co-authored Prayerwalking: To glorify someone is to recognize their intrinsic worth andPraying on Site with Insight with beauty, and to speak of that feature in a public way. ToGraham Kendrick. glorify God is to praise or to speak of Him openly and Chapter 8 49
50 Chapter 8 THe story of his glorytruthfully. Glory is at the heart of true wor- Fame Nameship throughout the Scriptures: The third usage of the phrase “the name of God” is the most abundant in the Bible, even All nations whom You have made shall though it is little recognized. “God’s name” come and worship before You, O Lord; and most often refers to the idea of His public they shall glorify Your name (Ps 86:9). renown. I call it God’s “fame name.” The We…worship in the Spirit of God and function is God’s rep- glory in Christ Jesus…(Phil 3:3). utation. God’s name is His global name- God reveals glory The idea of “glory” also describes honor sake. It is the open to all nationsthat can be given or awarded. When someone memory, based onis exalted or made great, they are, to some historical incidents, in order thatextent, in a biblical sense, glorified. God is which establishes a He might receive gloryso rich in glory that He bestows extravagant reputation worthyhonors upon His human servants without of future trust. God’s from peoplecompromising His own majesty in the slight- name is the body ofest. Jesus exposed our habit of seeking truth about Himself through worship.“glory from one another,” and yet failing which He has diplay-to “seek the glory that is from the one and ed and declared in the long-unfolding story ofonly God” (John 5:44). the Bible. The Hebrew people were not only to treasure this story, but they were also to tellThe Name of God it. Unlike the way of many religions, God’sThroughout the larger story, the biblical revelation was never to be a secret affair for aauthors use the idea of the “name of God” few people. Isaiah calls Israel to “make knownas a key idea. To distinguish the functions His deeds among the peoples,” so that theof reference, revelation and reputation, it nations are steadily reminded that “His name ismay help to sort out the usages with three exalted” (Isa 12:4). As we shall see, much of theeasy-to-remember categories: name-tag, story of the Bible recounts what God has donewindow and fame name. to make His name great among the nations.Name-Tag Names WorshipFirst, there are the names themselves used Why does God want to be known with suchto designate God in the Bible. God is never precision? God wants to be more than globallyanonymous in His story. He uses many famous—He yearns to be truly worshiped.names for Himself. Because the function isreference, we can call these names, for our God Reveals Glory to Receive Glorypurposes, the “name-tag” names of God God’s glory flows in two directions. The firstsince a name-tag distinguishes and identifies direction of His glory is toward the world.someone. It is just as true to refer to the God He shows His glory to people throughout theof scripture as “Lord of hosts” as it is to refer earth. He reveals who He is and what He hasto Him as “God Almighty,” or “Judge of all done in order to bring about the second di-the earth” or “King of glory.” Each of these rection of glory—that people might give Himnames is truly God’s name.1 glory in loving worship. God reveals glory to all nations in order that He might receiveWindow Name glory from people through worship.Second, God is pleased to disclose Himself Psalm 96 shows these two directions ofaccurately by any of the biblical names. The glory. God mandates a declaration of Hisfunction is revelation. For example, anyone glory to the nations in verses 2 and 3:who spends a few minutes pondering thebiblical name “The Lord is my Shepherd” Proclaim good tidings of His salvationwill have a better understanding of the nur- from day to day.turing kindness of God. Tell of His glory among the nations,
steven c. hawthorne 51 His wonderful deeds among Where is God’s love, and ours, in response? all the peoples. A God who demands worship just because He’s supreme doesn’t seem like a What an eloquent portrayal of the evan- very loving God. In fact, such a God mightgelization of the world! But the Psalmist goes not seem like He is worthy even to beon to tell the purpose for world evangeliza- admired. God’s penchant for praise mighttion by describing the second aspect of God’s make Him appear to be struggling with a lowglory: a response of glory from the nations self-image problem. It’s foolish to speak oftoward God in verses 7 to 9: God’s jealousy for worship as if He were a petulant tribal deity threatened by rival gods. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,2 God is not threatened; rather He is immea- Give to the LORD glory and strength. surably saddened by false worship. When Give to the LORD the glory of His name; people worship anyone or anything besides Bring an offering, Him, they become like it. God has better and come into His courts. intentions for people. Worship the LORD What is true worship anyway? Worship in the splendor of his holiness; takes place when people recognize who Tremble before Him, all the earth.” God is and offer public acknowledgment and freely approach God, personally offering face- The heart of mission flows in this amaz- to-face gratitude and day-to-day allegiance.ing economy of glory: God reveals His glory Worship is genuine relational interaction withto all nations in order to receive glory from God. That’s why God always welcomes us toall creation. worship with a gift. He never needs the wor- ship gifts. But the gift brings the giver. That isA Purpose Beyond Salvation why the nations are urged to come bringing aPeople are indeed saved by the global dec- gift, offering God tokens of their finest worthlaration of God’s salvation, but the ultimate (Ps 96:8 and many others). By their sacrificesvalue of their salvation is not to be seen in and gifts, they offer themselves.what they are saved from, it is what they aresaved for that really matters. People are saved Fully Bestowing His Loveto serve God in worship. In this respect, we Why is God so desirous of worship? Twocan say that world evangelization is for God. reasons: He is delighted by the sincere loveHowever accustomed we may be to seeing that comes to Him in true worship. But therepeople as being of paramount importance, is more: By wooing people into true worship,the Bible is clear: The rationale for mission is God is able to fully bestow His love uponthe colossal worthiness of God. Examine the them. You can see it in Psalm 96:6:logic of Psalm 96:2-4: Splendor and majesty are before Him, Proclaim good tidings of His salvation…. Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Tell of His glory…among all peoples. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be “Splendor and majesty” do not refer praised; He is to be feared above all gods. to God’s self-experience. Rather, along with “strength and beauty” (the parallelA Rationale Greater than Supremacy passage says “joy” in 1 Chr 16:27), they areThe rationale for mission seems simple features of God’s presence that are to be theenough: Since God is supreme, every crea- experience of people who approach Him inture should bow down in subjection. But true worship. There can be nothing morecan this really be the logic at the center of splendid or majestic for humans than to bethe universe? Our hearts won’t buy it. There elevated and placed in the gorgeous, heart-is something more. The Scriptures are loud stopping grandeur of God’s regal presence.about the truth that God is love. God calls Worship is the way that people glorifypeople to love Him with all that they are. God. When looked at from God’s point of
52 Chapter 8 THe story of his gloryview, we can see that worship is also God’s THE BIBLE AS GOD’S STORYway of glorifying people—in all the best senseof bringing people into their highest honor. The Bible is the astounding drama of God’sWorship fulfills God’s love. He loves people love drawing the worship of the nations.so vastly that He wills to exalt them to some- Remember the basic thesis: God reveals histhing better than greatness; He wants to bring glory to all peoples so that he may receivethem into an honored nearness to Him. Stretch glory from all creation. This double dimen-your mind and your heart as far as you can, sion of glory can help make sense out of anbut you’ll never perceive the extent of what apparent jumble of ancient stories.God has prepared for those who loveHim (1 Cor 2:9). Perhaps John got a glimpse of the Worship fulfills God’s love. He loves people“splendor and majesty” of those courtsin Revelation 5:1-14. He heard all of so vastly that He wills them to something betterheaven’s myriads raise their voices than greatness; He wants to bring themacclaiming the marvel that God Himselfhas purchased people from every tribe into an honored nearness to Him.and tongue. Why has God bought suchignoble humans at the extravagant cost of the Abrahamblood of His Son? Furthermore, why has When Abraham arrived in the land of prom-He purchased some from every single ethnic- ise, he did not excel as a brilliant missionary,ity? Of what value are these ones? Their however we might define that role. He’sprecious value is this: They will be His certainly not on record as a great evangelist.priests. Some from every people will gladly He was actually thrown out of Egypt in dis-offer to God the distinctive honors and grace (Gen 12:10-20). Abraham’s neighborsredeemed glories of their people. Each of frightened him into lying about his family.the peoples has eternal worth because of Abraham’s rationale for falsely presentingChrist’s blood. Each of the peoples has an his wife does not reveal an evangelist’s confi-appointed place before Him. God has set dence that lives might change: “Surely thereHis mighty heart to bring them there. is no fear of God in this place” (Gen 20:11).It must come forth. The passion of this But for all his failings, he did the most mis-unrequited love of God for each of the sionary thing he could have done when hepeoples is the very soul of any true first arrived in the new land: His first act wasmissionary enterprise. to establish ongoing public worship of God. The psalmist reflects God’s zeal for “He built an altar to the LORD and calledthe people groups of earth. God beckons upon the name of the LORD” (Gen 12:7-8).every one of the “families of the peoples,” His household may have been the only wor-people linked by blood and marriage with shipers at that altar, but God was explicitlygenerational depth. Each of these extended worshiped by name and in a public way.families has a history and a destiny beforeGod. In formal language they are each Blessed to Be a Blessing to Be a Blessinginvited into His regal presence (Ps 96:7-9). At one point Abraham rescued some of hisThey are not to come empty-handed, but powerful neighbors from an alliance ofthey are to extend to God a sampling of the marauding nations (Gen 14). After the mirac-unique glory and strength of their people. ulous victory, Abraham refused to accept theThe peoples are to voice praise gifts to God windfall of reward from the king of Sodom.in their many languages, but no people is If he accepted the largess, he knew that fromto offer speculative guesses about what that point, he and his family would alwaysconstitutes rightful praise. Only the truth be viewed as living under the patronage ofGod has revealed about Himself—“the that city. Instead he chose to keep himselfglory of His name”—is the substance and positioned before the nations as one specifi-true measure of worthy praise (v. 8). cally blessed by God.3
steven c. hawthorne 53 With the nations watching, Abraham The Exodusresolutely named God as the one who would God did more for His name than to gainreward and bless him. His bold words (Gen early worship from Abraham. God went14:21-24) were substantiated by the gift of global in a big way at the Exodus. At firstgoods Abraham offered God. Abraham glance, the story of the Exodus doesn’t lookoffered to God the wealth of Sodom as well like a great missionary event. Thousands ofas that of other nations. He helped foreign Egyptians died. Grief covered every Egyptiannations present a tithe to God, a recognized home. What was God doing?formal act of worship (Gen 14:18-20). With The key passage is Exodus 9:13-16 inMelchizedek as presiding priest, Abraham which Moses gives an ultimatum to Pharaoh,functioned as a priest by offering worship with a bold word about His purposes:gifts on behalf of other nations. Abraham was blessed in order to be a Thus says the Lord, the God of theblessing to the nations (Gen 12:1-3). But the Hebrews, “Let My people go, that theypurpose goes beyond the blessing of nations. may serve Me. For this time I will sendGod Himself is blessed! Melchizedek openly all My plagues on you and your servantsrecognized that Abraham was blessed by and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.God. By God’s power, Abraham had been For if by now I had put forth My handa blessing to his neighbors by rescuing and struck you and your people withenslaved families and their goods. But the pestilence, you would then have beengrand result was that God Himself would cut off from the earth. But indeed, forbe blessed in praise! Listen to Melchizedek: this cause I have allowed you to remain,“Blessed be Abram of God Most High…And in order to show you My power, and inblessed be God Most High…” (Gen 14:18-20). order to proclaim My name through all the What do we learn from the entire series of earth”(my italics).events? Abraham made God’s name knownby his ongoing worship. God made His name Take note that God never said, “Let Mygreat by dramatic redemptive power through people go!” That’s just half the sentence,His people. The outcome was a multi-nation- without the purpose, which was clearlyal gathering of grateful honor in which God stated every time Moses declared it. Takewas explicitly worshiped in truth. care to hear the entire cry of salvation: “Let my people go, that they may worship Me!”Global Purpose Confirmed by (Ex 8:1,20; 9:1,13; 10:3)4Obedience in Worship Pharaoh well understood the entireThe crucial, proving moment of Abraham’s demand of Moses that the people be releasedlife was a worship event (Gen 22). God told to worship. Pharaoh probably thought thatAbraham to bring His son Isaac to offer him the appeal for a worship vacation was a ployin an act of worship. It was a test to prove to disguise plans for escape. Perhaps manywhat Abraham and his family would be. of the Hebrews made the same mistake. HowWould God find in Abraham an obedient, many of them may have thought that thepriestly passion for God (literally, “a fearer plans to worship God in the wilderness wereof God,” Gen 22:12)? Would Abraham prove but a ruse to dupe the authorities? Is it anyto be zealous to offer the worship God wonder then that many of them remaineddesired? If so, God would find him to have fixated on matters of comfort, diet, safety andthe kind of faith that God wanted multiplied entertainment? They were slow to compre-among the nations. hend that in their escape, God had a purpose You know the story. At the very moment for Himself in the sight of the nations. Theythat Abraham obeyed in worship, God spoke had turned salvation inside-out: they seri-from heaven with a solemn oath, declaring ously thought that their rescue was the pre-forcefully His global purpose to bless the dominate concern of God. Instead, God waspeoples of the earth through Abraham’s orchestrating a powerful plan to draw thefamily (Gen 22:18). attention of the nations to Himself.
54 Chapter 8 THe story of his glory God Brings Global Attention for this cause I have allowed you to remain… to His Name to proclaim My name through all the earth” God was singling Himself out from all the (Ex 9:15-16). gods of earth. He was making an “everlasting name” for Himself at the Exodus (Isa 63:11-14 The Nations Take Notice and Neh 9:9-10). He wanted everyone in Did it work? Did the world take notice of Egypt and beyond to know that there was God making His name great? The devasta- absolutely no god like the only living God. tion recorded in the book of Exodus didn’t He wanted the world to watch a mob of make headlines in Egyptian hieroglyphics, slaves marching in procession to worship but we should understand that events which Him. God established His reputation as one put Egypt in a bad light were never chipped greater and absolutely different (truly holy, into stone. not just holier) than The Bible reports that the waves of the every other deity Red Sea hadn’t quite calmed down beforeThe Exodus events ever dreamed up by Moses led the people in singing, “The LORDrevealed His glory man—an exquisite, is His name….Who is like You among the almighty, resplendent gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic by establishing God. The Exodus was in holiness?” Then they began to list some His name to be a reference point of the surrounding nations, stating clearly for all subsequent rev- that: “The peoples have heard, and they in a global way. elation to the world of tremble…” (Ex 15:3,7,15). his character, His holi- Jethro had married into Moses’ family, ness and His power. How did chaos in Egypt but was still very much a Gentile. He had reveal the ever-living God? certainly heard about the God of the Hebrews for years from Moses. Perhaps many peoples Judging the Gods of Egypt and cities had heard something of this great Some scholars have noted that every one God without trusting or worshiping Him. of the plagues of Egypt was either aimed But listen to Jethro after the plagues of Egypt. against the false gods of Egypt or the oppres- “Now I know that the LORD is greater than sive power structures that were revered with all the gods; indeed, it was proven when fanatical zeal.5 Some Egyptian deities, such they dealt proudly against the people” as the Nile River, or the great sun god, were (Ex 18:11). Jethro was a leading priest of a embarrassed directly by the plagues of blood foreign people, well-qualified to evaluate and darkness. Other deities were indirectly religious matters (Ex 18:1). shamed by exposing their complete inability As we read the story of Moses confront- to do what they were supposed to do. There ing Egypt today, it might appear that Egypt were gods who were revered as being able was just another harsh empire that abused to deal with infestations of insects or to slaves. In Moses’ day it was open knowl- protect cattle from disease. The powerful edge that Egypt was a complex of religious, religious elite was shamed. The deeply economic and military powers inextricably revered military was summarily annihilated. enmeshed with spiritual powers. God unrav- Why was God wrecking Egypt before the eled the system to show it for what it was at watching world? the core—horrid, spiritual evil, dedicated to God was executing judgments “against diverting worshipers from coming to Him. all the gods of Egypt” (Ex 12:12). He was not God had blessed Egypt, but Egypt had made aiming at destroying people, but devastating itself an enemy of God. God’s “judgments” of one of the most highly regarded collections the plagues and the awesome Red Sea affair of false gods in all the earth. If He wanted to (Ex 12:12) are not to be understood as mere destroy the people of Egypt He could have punishment for bad deeds. God’s interven- done it quickly. “For if by now I had put forth tion put down oppressive evil in order to My hand and struck you…, you would then liberate people. Why were they freed? “Let have been cut off from the earth. But indeed, my people go, that they may worship Me.” God
steven c. hawthorne 55had orchestrated the Exodus events so that them, or bow down to them” (Josh 23:7).He revealed His glory by establishing His While there are difficulties in fully under-name in a global way. Then, with the world standing this part of the story of God’swatching, He drew the people to Himself people, one thing is clear about the conquest:to establish a way of worship that all other the point was pure worship. God’s objectivenations could enter. was not that Israel would be the only people that worshiped Him. His point was toThe Conquest insure that He was the only God that theyThe conquest of Canaan should be seen in worshiped.the same light of God winning to Himselfa single, holy people of worship. To that Idolatry Would Profane the Namepeople, and by their witness, He will draw Idolatry doesn’t seem to threaten mostevery other people to revere and know Him. believers today. The first four commands of the Ten Commandments can mystify orJust Recompense even bore us. Why was God so ferociouslyAt first glance to modern readers, the con- passionate about idolatry? Without graspingquest may seem like a genocidal land grab His global purposes for glory, it may seemrather than an act of a good and loving God. that God is over-wrought about a nasty,But a close look at the pertinent passages primitive habit.of Scripture shows that God ordained the But look at idolatry from God’s point ofconquest of Canaan with a double purpose. view. God had distinguished His name farFirst, God was bringing just recompense for above any other. Any kind of idolatry would,the “wickedness” of the peoples of the land in effect, profane (that is, bring down as(Deut 9:5). Long before this, God had told common) God’s name, the very name GodAbraham that “the iniquity of the Amorites had just singled out and sounded forth to(was) not yet complete” (Gen 15:16). God had the world.allowed sin to run its full course. We might Look again at the conquest. The pointwonder how the Canaanites felt about God’s of the invasion was not that Israel deservedwrath. The one statement about the conquest someone else’s homeland. God told Israelrecorded from a Canaanite came from a king clearly that they weren’t special or favoredwho acknowledged the righteous execution because of their intrinsic righteousness orof God’s justice: “As I have done, so God has their great nobility (Deut 7:6-7). Israel wasrepaid me” (Judg 1:7). told repeatedly that God would destroy them just as swiftly if they turned away from HisDemolishing False Worship worship to other gods.The second, and primary, reason for the thor- The record is clear that the Hebrew peopleough ferocity of the Hebrew conquest was were at several points precariously close tothis: God was demolishing systems of false being destroyed. Why? Hadn’t God speciallyworship in order to preserve the singular loved and saved them? For all the specialdevotion of His people and the holiness of love God had promised the descendants ofHis name. Almost every passage describ- Abraham, God was resolute in working foring the rationale behind ousting the peoples His glory. God was not averse to taking aliving in the land offers this reason: Canaan- delay and dealing with another generation.ite worship would swiftly turn the Hebrews The issue at every juncture was the worship“away from following Me to serve other of the people to God and their testimony togods” (Deut 4:15-24; 6:13-15; 7:1-8; et al.). His glory. Joshua and Moses both voiced the same One instance makes this constant purposeGod-given rationale for the violence of of God clear: the rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea.the conquest: it was, at the core, an annihila- Israel had followed God through a divinelytion of false worship. God had mandated opened way, and stood on the threshold ofthe destruction so that Israel would never fulfilling God’s purposes. Spies were sent to“mention the name of their gods, or serve check out the land and the people. Ten of the
56 Chapter 8 THe story of his gloryspies spooked the entire people, touching off completely ruined in order to “obliteratea hysterical rebellion for self-preservation their name from that place.” God’s name(Num 13:17-14:10). God was ready to destroy is never to be equivocated with the namethe entire people and start over with Moses, of any other deity. Instead, a new and spe-making out of him another people “greater cial place would be built, “to establish Hisand mightier” than the Hebrews. The point name there for His dwelling” (Deut 12:2-14,is not that the people had done something so especially verse 5).bad that God had become fatally angry. God Consider God’s declaration of purposesimply required for His purposes a nation for the temple: “to establish His name therewho would at least believe in Him. for His dwelling.” God wanted to do two Moses actually argues with God, bringing things in this special place. First, He wantedup, as he had in a previous instance (Ex 32:1- to reveal Himself by “His name.” It would be14), that the nations were watching. They a place of revelation as worshipers continu-had heard something of God’s name which ally exalt His character and voice the storiescould be falsified by what God was about to and songs about His working. Second, Goddo. “Now if You slay this people as one man, desired a place of encounter, of relation-then the nations who have heard of Your ship, of dwelling. From the earliest mentionfame (literally “name”) will say, ‘Because of a tabernacle God intimated His desire tothe Lord could not bring this people into enjoy an exalted nearness amidst His people,the land….’” Moses challenges God, telling “that I may dwell among them” (Ex 25:8). ToHim that the nations will conclude that the “dwell” is a relational affair. It is consummat-Hebrew God is weak—all beginnings, but no ed worship. God coming near His people asfinish (Num 14:15-16). they come near to Him. Solomon knew that Then Moses asks God to magnify Himself the temple was not God’s domicile. As heaccording to how God Himself had summa- dedicated the fabulous structure, he prayed:rized His name: “The Lord is slow to angerand abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving “But will God indeed dwell with man- kind on the earth? Behold, heaven andiniquity and transgression….”6 A long pause highest heaven cannot contain You; howfrom heaven, and then God said that He much less this house which I have built”had pardoned Israel according to the prayer (2 Chr 6:18).7of Moses. Then God raised His voice, I think,using some of the strongest expressions David had designed the temple as a placepossible: “But indeed, as I live, all the earth of approaching God with praise. Solomonwill be filled with the glory of the Lord!” installed the choirs and priestly musicians(Num 14:17-21). that his father had planned. These choirs What was God saying? That He would were to continually “praise and glorify thecontinue to use the nation, but wait for Lord” using some of the Davidic songs, andanother generation. Even though He was no doubt using David’s dedicatory hymntaking a delay, He remained everlastingly found in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33 (anotherresolute to bring forth His purpose on earth: rendition of Ps 96, discussed above), whichto fill the earth with “the glory of the Lord.” explicitly beckons “all the families of theTo fulfill that purpose required an obedient, peoples” to worship God (v. 28).worshiping, witnessing people. According to Solomon’s dedication, the house of the Lord is to be a place where GodThe Temple would see, hear and answer His people. ButPerhaps the first clear mention of the temple the house was not just for Israel. Solomonis made on the plains of Moab prior to Joshua makes special mention of “the peoples.”leading the people into the land. Moses He knew that God’s purpose for the templeissues God’s directives to destroy “all the was to welcome all nations to worship.places where the nations…serve their gods.” Solomon knew the story up to that point.Instead of remodeling any of the former God had made Himself vastly famous. Peopleplaces of worship, the shrines were to be of other nations would seek to know the
steven c. hawthorne 57God of Israel personally. Listen to Solomon’s Solomon for being brainy or clever withastounding prayer: court cases. The world recognized that God himself had put wisdom in this man’s heart. Also concerning the foreigner who is not And what was the first lesson in wisdom of your people Israel, when he comes that Solomon put forth to the world? “The from a far country for your name’s sake fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (for they will hear of Your great name (Prov 1:7, 9:10). Solomon was introducing the and Your mighty hand, and of Your out- world to the worship of God as well as the stretched arm); when He comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven Your life of wisdom under God. dwelling place, and do according to all for God’s purposes were apparently being which the foreigner calls to you, in order fulfilled. His name was great. Israel was that all the peoples of the earth may know making it known so that the nations were Your name, to fear You as do Your people coming to know God personally. What could Israel…(1 Ki 8:41-43). have possibly slowed God’s unfolding plan to draw the nations to Himself? Only one Solomon did not pray for a few of the thing. It was the issue about which God mostindividuals to come, but for many from every stringently warned His people: idolatry.one of the peoples. Solomon prayed that the And of all the possible horrors, probablynations would meet God as they came to the the worst thing happened—Solomon himselfhouse to pray and to worship. He did not ask led the way into grotesque idolatry. It wasthat Gentiles know God in their own Gentile one of history’s most bitter ironies. Imagineway, but rather that they would know God the brilliant hopes with the riches and thejust as Israel did. Solomon envisioned all desires of the nations turning to Israel. Solo-peoples joining Israel in the same kind of mon had consecrated the temple in a spec-humble, joyous, worshipful walk with God tacle of unimaginable glory. He had closedthat Israel enjoyed—“the fear of the Lord.” that event with a blessing of purpose on the building and nation, “so that all the peoplesThe Nations Begin to Come of the earth may know that the LORD is God;Did the report of God’s name go out to the there is no one else” (1 Ki 8:60).world? Did foreigners ever come to the And then just three chapters after thishouse of the Lord and learn of the fear of the climactic opening of doors to the nations toLord? Did God answer Solomon’s prayer? know and fear the only God by name,The best answer to these questions is “Yes” Solomon’s heart was turned “away afteras well as “No.” other gods.” He actually constructed shrines The record shows that soon after the within sight of the holy mountain of Godtemple was complete (1 Ki 9:25), the Queen (1 Ki 11:1-8). Can any believing reader ofof Sheba “heard about the fame of Solomon these verses not feel disappointment to theconcerning the name of the Lord”(10:1, my point of nausea? It’s hard not to speculateemphasis). She came to learn, she listened about what might have happened if worshipto Solomon’s wisdom (v. 8), and came away had been pure and steady for at leastwith understanding of the covenant-keeping another generation.God who “loved Israel forever.” As only aroyal potentate might see, she realized that The Persistence of GodGod Himself had established the power of God’s plan was simple: God would make HisSolomon, and the hope that through God’s name great and then Israel could make Hisrulership, there might be “justice and name known. He has always purposed torighteousness” (v. 9). single out His name from all other gods, and Was this an isolated instance? Apparently then to welcome the nations to worship Himnot. A few verses later it says that, “All the personally in the light of that revealed nameearth was seeking the presence of Solomon, through the witness of the people of Israel.to hear his wisdom which God had put in The story from this point becomes ahis heart” (v. 24). The world didn’t honor prolonged up-and-down struggle with
58 Chapter 8 THe story of his gloryidolatry. Various episodes revive fidelity to Thus says the Lord God, ‘It is not for yourGod’s worship, but are followed by stunning sake, O house of Israel, that I am aboutnew lows of profaning God’s name. The to act, but for my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations whereupper-most issue throughout the genera- you went. And I will vindicate the holi-tions is God’s glory by Israel’s worship. At ness of my great name which has beentimes the people disregarded the worship of profaned among the nations, which youGod so greatly that generations would pass have profaned in their midst. Then thewithout the slightest attention to the simple nations will know that I am the Lord’regimens by which God had invited Israel (Ezek 36:22-23).to meet with Him (the ordinances for wor-ship in the books of Moses). The words of The Destiny of Israel:some of the prophets show that even when Glory From All Nationsworship patterns were followed, they were Daniel and Ezekiel weren’t the only prophetsoften performed superficially. The prophets who saw the ongoing story of Israel as focus- ing on God’s name and glory. Other prophetsexposed perfunctory worship, showing that and psalmists spoke of the history and theit perversely lacked the justice and the kind- destiny of Israel in terms of the nations beingness which was supposed to have thrived drawn to God by name, and worshiping Himbehind every offering and prayer to God (Isa with diverse, lavish glory.1:11-15; Amos 5:21-24; Mic 6:6-8). AlthoughGod delayed the great shaking of Israel and Shout joyfully to God, all the earth. SingJudah, He finally separated the people from the glory of his name; make his praisethe land which was to showcase the blessing glorious. Say to God, ‘How awesome areof God. They were exiled to distant lands. your works!’ Because of the greatnessAnd then the utmost tragedy: The house of of your power your enemies will give feigned obedience to you. All the earthGod was burned and broken to rubble. will worship you. And will sing praises Near the end of the time of exile, Daniel to you; they will sing praises to yourcried out for God to enact His promise to name (Ps 66:1-4).restore the temple and His people. Danielwas intensely aware of the entire saga, how All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord, when they have heard theGod had brought His people out of the land words of Your mouth. And they will singof Egypt with a mighty hand… “(to) make of the ways of the Lord. For great is thea name for yourself, as it is this day” (Dan glory of the Lord (Ps 138:4-5).9:15). Daniel’s over-riding concern was thatthe ruins of intended glory on the temple For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as themountain in Jerusalem were a continuing waters cover the sea (Hab 2:14).reproach to God’s glory to “all those aroundus.” He prayed that God would restore the For then I will give to the peoples purifiedpeople and the city so that the glory of His lips, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, to serve him shoulder toname would be restored. Daniel did not base shoulder. From beyond the rivers of Ethi-his request on the supposed greatness of opia my worshipers, my dispersed onesIsrael, but “for your own sake, O my God, do will bring my offerings (Zeph 3:9-10).not delay, because your city and your peopleare called by your name” (Dan 9:16-19). For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name will be great among Ezekiel, a near contemporary to Daniel, the nations, and in every place incense isbreathed the same themes. God had restrained going to be offered to my name, and a grainHis wrath at several junctures from destroy- offering that is pure; for my name will being Israel, but God’s restraint had been for great among the nations (Mal 1:11).the sake of His name (Ezek 20:5-22). Thedealings of God with Israel were not because These are but a sampling of the scoresof sickly favoritism, but solely for His glory of prophetic words which tethered Israel’samong the nations: identity to the culmination of God’s purposes:
steven c. hawthorne 59 the glory of God on earth drawing the worship adore You!” The prayer can be prayed most of all peoples. When the people of God were thoroughly in the global dimension that Jesus finally brought back to the land, building thetaught: “on earth as it is in heaven.” There temple was to be top priority. Haggai made it is no question of the primacy of this prayer clear that the temple was for God’s glory, andfor all believers. The prayer has to be under- for a greater glory than had ever come before.stood. There can be little doubt that Jesus is “And I will shake all the nations; and the teaching the Church to pray for the fulfill- ment of ancient purposes revealed in the Law, the stories, the songsChrist is the crescendo of the story of God’s glory. and the prophecies of Israel for the He will have bought and brought people from glory of God. In one telling encounter with every tribe and tongue to honor the Father. the non-Jewish Samaritan woman, Jesus declared God’s future for desired of the nations will come; and I will her and other Gentile nations: “An hour is fill this house with glory” (Haggai 1:8; 2:7, coming, and now is, when the true worship- KJV). From the exile onward, Israel avoided ers shall worship the Father in spirit and idolatry. But the lesser national glory they truth; for such people the Father seeks to be desired never came. They were waiting for a His worshipers” (John 4:23). messianic deliverer to free them from oppres- sion. They almost missed the Messiah when A House of Worship from All Peoples He came because Jesus’ vision of redemption In His most public hour and most passionate was for God’s kingdom to be enacted among moment, Jesus made an issue of the worship all peoples. of the peoples. He cleansed the temple of the religious commercialism which formed The Glory of God in Christ a blockade prohibiting the nations from Christ is the crescendo of the story of God’s approaching God. He quoted Isaiah 56:7, glory. At the end of all things, He will have “My house shall be called a house of prayer bought and brought people from every tribe for all peoples.” The religious leaders listen- and tongue to honor the Father. It’s no ing to Him immediately recalled the rest surprise then, to see how His every move of the passage that Jesus was quoting from was part of pressing the story of God’s glory Isaiah 56:6-7. Jesus intended for them to hear toward its culmination for all nations. it fully: Jesus summed up His ministry in terms of bringing global glory to His Father: Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love “I glorified You on the earth, having the name of the Lord,…even those I will accomplished the work which You have bring to My holy mountain, and make given Me to do.” And what was the work? them joyful in My house of prayer. Their “I manifested Your name to the men You burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be gave Me out of the world” (John 17:4,6). acceptable on My altar. For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. Sanctify Your Name The prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray Just before going to His death, He dis- can be easily misunderstood because of the played His life purpose, and the purpose of antiquated English translation, “Hallowed be His soon-coming death (John 12:24-32). He Thy name.” This prayer is not a statement of openly considered the option of asking the praise. It is explicitly a request in the original Father to rescue Him from death: “What shall language: “Father…sanctify your name!” To I say, Father, save Me from this hour?” But paraphrase, “Father lift up, single out, exalt, instead of asking to escape, He said, “But for manifest, and reveal Your name to the people this purpose I came to this hour.” What pur- of earth. Become famous for who You really pose was this? The purpose bursts forth from are. Cause the people of earth to know and His heart in His next statement. It becomes
60 Chapter 8 THe story of his glorythe prayer of His death and His life: “Father! glory of their nation to God for His pleasure.Glorify Your name!” And then, to the bewil- Paul’s job was not to change the societiesdered amazement of those standing near Him, and cultures. The Spirit of God was at workGod the Father Himself answered Jesus from transforming and sanctifying the finestheaven: “I have both glorified it (My name), possible display of glory from the peoples.and will glorify it again.” God’s ans-wer from heaven still thunders, ifFather for the greater glory of His Now let us focus our deepest affections andname. Jesus said that the answerdidn’t come for Him, but for His fol- boldest plans on the splendor of every peoplelowers who would come to similar loving God with the sanctified best of theirmoments of choosing to follow Him(12:30) in accordance with God’s an- society. What a magnificent hope!cient purpose. How would Jesus’death glorify God’s name? “If I be lifted up, I Paul labored at great cost with a brilliantwill draw all people to Myself” (12:32). vision before him. It was something he knew was worth working and waiting for. “With oneMinistry of Surpassing Glory with Paul voice” many diverse streams of believers, JewPaul saw his life as continuing the ancient and Gentile, weak and strong, will togetherpurpose toward a huge global outpouring of “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesusobedient worship from all nations. His most Christ” (Rom 15:6).precise statement of mission purpose was to“bring about the obedience of faith among A Rehearsal for Eternal Gloryall the nations for His name’s sake” (Rom 1:5, At the end of history, we will marvel at howemphasis mine). Paul saw the entire world abundantly God’s love has been fulfilled. Hisas divided into two categories: where Christ love will have triumphed by winning passion-was “named” and where Christ was not yet ate devotion from all peoples. Jesus will havenamed. Paul resolutely prioritized his efforts thoroughly fulfilled the promise He uttered toso as to labor where Christ was not named His Father, “I have made Your name known to(Rom 15:20).8 them, and I will make it known; that the love We can see the double direction of God’s wherewith You loved Me may be in them…”glory in Paul’s ministry. On the one hand he (John 17:26).labored to glorify God by revealing Christ to Beyond history, we will have found thatthe nations—getting Christ “named.” But his all of the worshipful service of the manyhighest zeal, the very boast of his being, was in nations throughout the generations will havethat which was to come back to God from the been a rehearsal for greater affairs of love andnations. “Because of the grace that was given glory, still involving the beautified glory fromto me from God, to be a minister of Christ every people.Jesus to the nations, [priesting] the gospel,9 that Heaven will fill earth: “Behold, the tab-my offering of the nations might become pleas- ernacle of God is among men, and He shalling, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in dwell among them, and they shall be HisChrist Jesus I have found reason for boasting peoples,11 and God Himself shall be amongin things pertaining to God”10 (Rom 15:15-17). them” (Rev 21:3). Paul’s passionate ambition to “preach The peoples will endure everlastingly.the gospel” was based on the far more fun- The city which is heaven on earth will bedamental commission (or in his language, adorned by kings of the peoples continuallya “grace that was given”) which he had bringing the treasure and fruit of the peoplesreceived from God to “priest the gospel.” to God’s throne (Rev 21:22-26). We willThere’s no mistaking the imagery. Paul sees serve Him, awed and honored by havinghimself before God, serving the nations as His very name on our faces. And gazingif he were a priest, instructing and ushering into His face, we shall serve Him as belovedthem near to God, helping them bring the priests (Rev 22:1-5).
steven c. hawthorne 61What is an Evangelized World For? receives from people’s lives? Jesus began toUntil now we have cried, “Let the earth hear do just that. From that vision He imploredHis voice!” Let us never cease voicing His the Lord of the harvest to send out laborersWord to every creature. But soon comes the to bring God His harvest (Matt 9:35-38).day when, by most reckonings, the earth will Jesus knew that in God’s ways, volunteeringhave heard. What then? is of little value. Anything of lasting power There is another cry, far more ancient. It comes from an authentic “sending” of God.is a shout for earth’s destiny. It is to be lifted Compassion flows like rivers from onetoday more than ever: “Let all the peoples who is truly sent.praise You!” (Ps 67:3-5). We hear even now Mission efforts which draw their motiva-growing praise from the nations. Now let tion from compassionate response to humanus focus our deepest affections and boldest predicament will only go so far. Guilt-basedplans on the splendor of every people loving appeals to care for hurting or lost peopleGod with the sanctified best of their society. continue to soften our hearts a little. InWhat a magnificent hope! practice, however, they weary and harden believers to a minimal token obedience.CHANGES IN PRACTICE Costly and difficult work needs to be done. Such labor cannot be sustained by the fleet-This emphasis on the glory of God is far ing, momentary zeal generated by appealsmore than a decorative flower on the Great for desperate, perishing souls. God’s globalCommission. More than ever we must work purpose is an ancient affair, far more than antogether with a shared passion that Christ urgent need. Now more than ever believersbe named and that Christ is praised in every need to be nurtured into a far-reaching jeal-people. A “doxological” (having to do with ousy for God’s glory. With confident certaintyglory) vision of world evangelization offers that God will fulfill His promise, we can bepractical wisdom essential for the finishing of deeply moved by needs while acting boldlythe remaining task. Stepping into the story of for God’s purpose.His glory will help us in three practical ways. 2. Define the Task1. Deepen Our Motive Base as Increasing God’s Gloryto a Love for God’s Glory Never has there been a day when Chris-World evangelization is for God. It is common tians are taking so much care to reach allto work out of a concern for the predicament of the world’s peoples. Considering peopleof people—either to see them saved from hell, groups and their cultures helps to deviseor to see them served to communal whole- effective gospel communication to spe-ness, or both. Such compassion is biblical cific cultures. The people group approachand necessary. However, our love for people appears to be useful for evaluating progresstakes on balance and power when our over- and apportioning different assignments forriding passion is for God to be honored by effective collaboration.the kindness extended in His name; and Even so, the people group approach haseven more, for God to be thanked personally been a contentious issue. For years, someby the people transformed by the power of have decried the entire approach as disinte-the gospel. grating the unity of churches or as a cover Jesus was moved with an abounding for stubborn attitudes of colonial dominationcompassion as He saw the multitudes as by Westerners. Recently, others have quietlyabandoned sheep, but He did not respond abandoned the people group approach forto the naked need. He deliberately recast His other paradigms which seem more workable.vision of the same lost crowds with a differ- Even as nation-states disintegrate overnightent metaphor. Instead of beleaguered sheep, into the competing peoples that compriseHe saw the people as carrying great value to them, country-by-country approaches to evan-God: “His harvest.” Who can comprehend gelization are still proving attractive. OtherGod’s delight in the fullness of the fruit He geographical approaches range from marking