TODAY’S READING: 1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8
“All the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the Lord until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was completed” (2 Chr. 8:16). The beauty of the house of the Lord was the inclusion—all types of peoples and all types of skills. The nations played a part with Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites providing labor (v. 7). There were men of war and chief officials, and divisions of priests, Levites, and gatekeepers (vv. 10, 14). Every man of every origin did his part and tackled the big job of nation building (temples, palaces, naval fleets, infrastructure, and more).
The missionary work of reaching every people group on earth with the gospel must likewise be well-ordered with every man and woman doing their part. Truly the whole church must take the whole gospel to the whole world, and this maxim is true both multi-nationally and multi-vocationally. The whole body of Christ must function in unified missionary purpose no matter geography or gifting. This unified missionary effort is described by Alan Johnson’s term “apostolic function.” Alan coined the term to describe how a missionary among unreached peoples can function when he or she doesn’t feel like a super apostle, and Alan generously allows us to use it to refer to the well-ordered synthesis of roles in the overall mission of God.
Imagine a spear made of one alloy, cast in one mold. The spear represents the spiritual body of Christ that God will use to build His church among all unreached peoples. This indivisible spear has components that work together for the spear to be a useful weapon in God’s hands. The tip of the spear represents the pioneer, visionary missionary that God specifically calls to break new ministry ground in a difficult or unreached area. The spear head represents a team of people the leader needs around him. The front of the spear’s shaft represents missionary partnerships with indigenous Christians who raise up all nations to the unreached. The middle of the shaft contains missionary strategists, leaders who approve budgets, set vision, discipline the errant, build global partnerships, and stir the body to stay focused on the inconvenient lost. The end of the spear, the largest and strongest portion, are the missionary senders: grandmas who pray, businessmen who give, and pastors who raise up and commission. All working together make the spear strong.
Solomon started out so right and so ordered, but ended so wrong. When God appeared to Solomon the second time after he finished building the temple, God soberly reminded him that the options were either consecration or expulsion. If Solomon obeyed everything commanded, God would put His name in that temple forever. If Solomon or his sons turned from direct obedience, then they would become proverbs and bywords among all peoples (1 Kings 9:7).
If all the world is a stage and God’s relationship with Israel the drama, then the nations of the world are the active audience, eagerly watching how the story unfolds. Everything acted out and recorded in the Bible was done for the nations to view because it’s actually about their inclusion in Jehovah’s house. And if Israel was punished, then the audience of nations would know it was because she left the God of blessing to follow false gods and ignored her one job (i.e. be a light to the nations); and therefore, Jehovah brought calamity on her (v. 9). As the peoples of earth gaze transfixed at the dramatic tragedy playing out before them, they shake their heads and say: “What fools are they who scorn the blessing of Jehovah by disobeying His missionary heart to incur His wrath! How favored are they who obey Jehovah and live in His missionary love, who are well-ordered and speed His light!”