“God’s call doesn’t register in a vacuum; only a person who is committed to doing God’s will can receive a call.”

Thomas Hale

TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 35–37

The Rechabites are notable for two refusals and one obedience: They refused pollutants and palaces (they would not drink wine or settle in secure buildings) and they steadfastly did what their father told them to do (Jer. 35:6–7). In these relatively minor matters of obedience they were faithful, and Jeremiah used their example to shame a nation who disobeyed on a grander scale. “This family had rigorously obeyed the arbitrary injunctions of an earthy father. Why could not Judah obey the injunctions of their God Yahweh?”[1] The Church has been commissioned to make disciples of all the peoples of earth by our heavenly Father. Why is this not yet done? Why are there still 7,000 unreached people groups? Why have 3.15 billion people never heard a clear presentation of the gospel in their heart language from a Christian witness?  Why does 42 percent of the world languish and continue to receive three percent of our missionary attention in finance and people?

Every time we see remarkable examples of faithful obedience—a well-trained animal, a willing child, a professional team, perhaps even the misguided and marginalized who are fully devoted in their error—it should remind us of the grand obedience required of all who bear the name of Christ. Disciples must be made of all the nations; all smaller obediences must point us to this grand “yes.” If the small and misguided can be devoted in their obedience regarding temporal or even foolish things, how much more should the missionary people of God be dedicated to obeying the Great Commission? The great commandments are indivisibly attached to the Great Commission: If we love the Lord our God with all we have, we will love all peoples of the earth enough to proclaim among them how sin can be forgiven and eternal life assured.

God’s warnings repeatedly include all nations, as do His invitations, hopes, and prayers that everyone will repent and be forgiven (36:3, 7). What Jeremiah wrote had the nations in view.  How much of our writing is nations-focused? Living as the prophetic and missionary people of God means, in part, that all we do should have global import. It is parochial at best and negligent at worst to not consider every communication tool we employ for the searching and searing love of God for all nations. Modern means of communication empower us to great gospel good if we would shift our content from our petty activities to the grand activity of God in the world. Think of how the gospel might extend to the unreached billions if every believer in America dedicated their Facebook time to facing the nations in dialogue, presenting the book of God to those who have never read it. I’m not saying that prophetic and evangelistic writing will always be well received; many times the powers that be will cast it into the fire (36:23). But alongside Jeremiah we can write out the gospel again and “add to them many similar words” (v. 32).

Even if we go to prison (37:11–21), the missionary mandate is to ensure the Word of God is not chained. Here is another number that should bother us: 57 percent of the world’s languages are in need of a completed Bible translation. Out of the world’s 6,901 different languages, 1,859 languages do not have Bible translation processes started. The report also states that 2,195 languages are in the process of having Scripture translated but do not yet have completed Scripture.[2] The Word of God may not be chained, but if we are to obey Him, we have some translating and distribution to do.

[1] The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 730.

[2] “Bible Not Available in 57% of World Languages; Most Americans Believe the Bible Is Available in Every Language.” The Christian Post. https://www.christianpost.com/news/bible-not-available-in-57-of-world-languages-most-americans-believe-the-bible-is-available-in-every-language.html (accessed July 17, 2019).

Prayer Focus: Philippines

Today’s Unreached People Group: Tausug, Moro Joloano
Population: 1,285,000
Language: Tausug
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.23%
Estimated Workers Needed: 26

[Source: Joshua Project]

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