“World missions was on God’s mind from the beginning.”
Dave Davidson

TODAY’S READING: Exodus 2–3

How delightful that when Moses needed refuge, he ran to Saudi Arabia (Exo. 2:15)! Moses named his son Gershom (“an alien there”), reminding us God’s heart and home has always been open to immigrants and refugees. Moses’ rash action from a pure motive necessitated his flight. Some interpret Moses looking “this way and that way, and when he saw no one” (v. 12) not as being sneaky, but as being frustrated. No one was doing anything to help an obvious need, so he jumped in. All young missionaries should remember that neither the wrath nor rush of man accomplishes the purposes of God. Well-meaning but misapplied zeal led Moses to Saudi Arabia but God overruled, for it was there that God chose to reveal and repeat Himself.

The Bible drums away into our thick skulls that God is a missionary God. God called Moses and Moses responded in classic missionary form: “Here I am” (3:4)! God identified Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob three times (vv. 6, 15, 16), the God who will bless every people group on earth. God prefigured the incarnation in saying, “I have come down to deliver” (v. 8). God said, “I will send you” to bring (all) His people out (v. 10). God assured Moses: “I will certainly be with you” (v. 12). It was all about God and His missionary heart. God would bless this growing Syrian family, deliver them from Egypt, and take them to Palestine, the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, all for the glory of His name. God sends us from the nations to the nations—sometimes as refugees and immigrants.

God also clearly linked His covenant name to missions. “I AM WHO I AM,” God said to Moses, “and you shall say…I AM has sent me to you” (v. 14). This holy name (YHWH) is how God wants to be represented forever (v. 15), and God links that name to being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e., the God who blesses so that all the people groups of earth may be blessed).

Christopher Wright points out that

once YHWH appears as a character in the drama, we become aware of a further dimension. The Israelites’ slavery to Pharaoh is a massive hinderance to their worship and service of the living God, YHWH. One way the story makes the point is a simple play on a single Hebrew verb and noun. ‘abad means to serve – that is to work for another; ‘aboda means service or slavery… But the same words can be used for worship, the service of God. And of course, Israel’s destiny was to serve and worship YHWH…and Pharaoh was preventing both.[1]

YHWH is the God who sees, hears, and knows. YHWH is the God who remembers His covenant to Abraham (2:24). The Hebrew word for remember (zaakar) “denotes a thoughtful consideration of something one has deliberately called to mind with a view of taking action on it.”[2] God is resolutely committed to saving the lives of His children. But He does not save them empty-handed (3:21). God saves His children so they can join Him in His joy: plundering hell (v. 22) to populate heaven, a heaven He has designed to be multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-national, and multi-glorious.

[1] Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 269–270.

[2] Ibid. 273.

Prayer Focus: Iraq (25 UPGs)

Today’s Unreached People Group: Arab, Iraqi
Population: 16,405,000
Language: Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.20%
Estimated Workers Needed: 308

[Source: Joshua Project]

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