TODAY’S READING: 2 Chronicles 27; Isaiah 9–12
Isaiah 11 continues the theme of the eternal ruler from the house of David, the Rod and the Branch on whom the Spirit of the Lord shall rest (11:1–2). This Savior King whom the Gentiles will seek (v. 10) will rule forever and bring the whole world into the comprehensive shalom it has longed for but never found under earthly kings. This holistic and transformative rule will include all nations under its banner (v. 12). When God’s people experience Him, the intended result is global; that His worth is so majestic to us, we declare His praise among all the peoples. If the result of our experience of God does not compel and propel us into global mission, it is doubtful whether we have really encountered the God of the Bible.
In the Old Testament, the knowledge of God “is to be proclaimed to the nations, just as much as the good news of its liberations was to be proclaimed to Jerusalem. Or to be more precise, the good news of what God had done for Jerusalem would constitute part of the good news that would go also to the nations.” Therefore, what God has done for us must be proclaimed to the 444 unreached people groups of China, including the Uyghur.
To not see God’s missionary heart reverberating through Isaiah is to be willfully blind. A further caution, however, is to recognize and even participate in God’s missionary work without sharing in His heart. This is a fatal error, for it means we can be like Assyria, God’s functional utility, a tool He will discard or break when He is finished using us (10:5). When we do the Lord’s work for our own gain or fame, we will indeed succeed, but that very success will be our destruction (v. 12). How much better to be like Jotham who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord [and] became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God” (27:2, 6). The reality is that God blesses His missionary people and His mission-centered churches. But woe to the person or pastor who promotes global mission for his or her own ends (praise, fame, recognition, or funding). Only when we prize sharing in Christ’s motives can we truly be trusted to participate in His work. We must get both the why and the what pure if we are to truly serve Jehovah.
God seeks churches and households that love the lost, not love the blessing God bestows on them for reaching the lost. God seeks those who sacrificially give for the advance of the gospel because Jesus is worth it, not because Jesus will make it worth it. God wants men and women who commit themselves to love the world in the ways and means that are right in His sight. God forbid a utilitarian approach to missions—that is disastrous for everybody.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 92.