TODAY’S READING: Exodus 16–18
A missionary reading of the Bible acknowledges that Abraham was blessed to be a blessing to all the peoples of the world and that all who are spiritual sons of Abraham have the same mandate. Israel as a nation then was brought out of Egypt so they could fulfil God’s plan.
The road out of bondage (to carry on Abraham’s mandate) usually lacks water, bread, and meat. The road to blessing the nations is arduous and lacks the conveniences of home. All those who walk towards the nations stub their toes, forget their prior woes, and seriously question whether the price required to reach the inconvenient lost is worth it. Enemies steal into that deliberative process, adept at turning God’s missionaries against each other. The biggest challenge on the road to blessing the nations invariably becomes infighting and complaining about our friends and leaders (Exo. 17:4). One of the first commitments missionaries must make is that they will not allow infighting to take them off the blessing trail. That commitment connects to a trust in God to provide the necessities—physical, emotional, and relational.
A second commitment missionaries must make is to depend on prayer. “So it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed” (v. 11). Samuel M. Zwemer, a missionary and Christian scholar on Islam, said, “The history of missions is the history of answered prayer…it is the key to the whole missionary problem. All human means are secondary,” and J. Oswald Sanders said, “[Prayer] is fundamental, not supplementary…. All progress can be clearly traced back to prevailing prayer.”
Oswald Chambers went as a missionary to Egypt during World War I. He famously said:
Prayer does not equip us for greater works—prayer is the greater work….but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony…. Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are…. Yet we refuse to pray unless it thrills or excites us, which is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness.
There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.
A third commitment missionaries (and all men and women) must make is to never attempt to thwart God’s missionary purposes. Amalek tried to wipe out Israel (vv. 8–13) and God went to long-term total war against him (v. 16). The logic is simple. God’s people have one purpose—to bless all people groups on earth. If God’s people are eliminated or restricted, God’s peoples do not receive the blessing of God. God will then go to war with whoever tries to stop His blessing of all peoples going forward.
The sentiment seen on some bumper stickers of “whoever messes with Israel messes with God” is right! But that is not referring to a pagan political entity that itself resists the deity and authority of Jesus. Biblically understood, the “don’t mess with Israel” sentiment refers to anyone who works against God’s purpose to bless the Kazakh (or any unreached people) with the gospel. Stand against the missionary purposes and people of God, and you will see Jehovah Nissi unfurl His battle banner. He will go to war with you from generation to generation. It’s much more productive to fight for God than against Him.
 “Missions Is Answered Prayer.” The Voice of the Martyrs. http://www.globalprn.com/wp-content/uploads/Missions-is-Ansered-Prayer.pdf (accessed February 2, 2019).
 October 17 entry from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935).