TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 46–48
Jeremiah’s later prophesies occurred when critical political adjustments were made in the Fertile Crescent. In 605 BC and following, Babylon gained ascendancy over Assyria, conquered Judah, and reached its zenith by 560 BC. For the most part, with minor adjustments, the Middle East was organized with two major powers (Babylon and Egypt) in a face-off with minor powers aligning with one or the other as was convenient; not that different from the Middle East of our day, with Iran and Saudi staring at one another over the Persian Gulf as the other nations carefully chose with which bully they will align.
God used the prophet to remind us that when the dust settles, only One will receive the glory and we don’t have to fear because Jehovah will make an end of all nations. God used the Egyptians to push back the Babylonians, the Babylonians to humble Egypt, the Egyptians to punish Gaza, and the Babylonians to judge Moab. It’s kind of a judgment free-for-all in which God used various nations each in turn as His tool for judgment as He does in our day as His tool for missions.
God does not restrict His missions mobilization or empowerment to one nation. All nations are called to participate in the extension of God’s glory among all nations. God is sending Egyptian missionaries to Gaza, Iraqi messengers to Jordan, Iranian evangelists to Europe, and workers from every nation to every nation. No nation is exempt from God’s mandate, and no country is too poor to send missionaries. Just as no country is exempt from sending because they are rich either. There is a dangerous strain of thought that says it’s more economical for Americans to fund gospel workers overseas than to go ourselves. This thinking is strained and insidious. Lurking in its motivation is the notion that we can pay others to fulfil our obedience, that our sons and daughters are too precious to suffer and die for gospel advance, that other lives are more expendable so we can fund their efforts. How wicked is a philosophy that thinks we can pay others to go to war for us, that we can buy our way out of the summons to dangerous missions.
The Great Commission has not been rescinded for any nation. We rejoice that God is using all nations. We rejoice that God has raised up the Global South, shifted the center of Christianity away from the West, and proved that no one culture or race own His Spirit and mission. But He is yet the Lord of hosts and all must still respond to His war call. We in the West cannot hide behind the false logic of economic stewardship as a cover for our cowardice. We must yet send our sons and daughters to live and die for King Jesus among the unreached.