TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 46–48
“The Lord is there” are the comforting closing words of Ezekiel (Eze. 48:35). It is ever about God and His fulfilling presence. A prophetic book that can be hard to read in its constant warnings about judgment on all nations ends with the assurance that what is wrong serves well in one way: It reminds us of He who is right, and that one day Eden will be restored. When the King returns in glory for the recreation of all things, His beautiful presence will be at the center of all and all will be whole.
We need Jesus more than Jesus needs us. In truth, He does not need us at all. He was perfectly content in the unity of the Godhead before the creation of man. We in no sense fill a gap in God’s being. God plus nothing is everything; God plus redeemed men and women from every people is everything plus. The whole cosmos being healthy is symbolized by the healing river that flows out of the perfect temple of God. The river that flows from His temple gets deeper the further away it gets—symbolic of God’s extended life and missionary heart.
The closing chapters of Ezekiel reinforce God’s missionary intentions. Life was never intended to be confined to the temple nor to Israel. Life was ever intended to flow from God’s people to all peoples of the earth. God’s chosen people and places are ever intended to be rivers, moving, spreading out into the desert, bringing the life of God to every tribe, tongue, and people. The river of life spreading to all nations in healing power is doubly encouraging because its depth increases as its distance from the source increases. Increased depth with increased distance from home is not incidental. The testimony of the missionary is that Jesus becomes sweeter to us the further we flow from home. Shed no tears for missionaries—wherever they go, Jehovah is there. Don’t be afraid of leaving the comfort of your church or family to go to the demonized and difficult places of earth. Jehovah is there in a depth that your very spiritual comforts shield you from. Oh, that every Christian would know the joy of launching out into the deep, leaving the safe shoals of the home shore for the great depths of the knowledge of God that often can only be experienced far from home in desperate depths.
We need missions more than missions needs us, for missions launches us into depth. Certainly, God uses human agents to pray, provide for, and proclaim His glorious gospel, but the God who needs nothing honors us by giving us a part. He is not dependent on us at any level. The plans of God will triumph no matter how we respond. What is not in question is God’s victory and glory among every people. What is up for answer is whether we will be blessed because we obeyed and participated in what He is doing. We need missions because it thrusts us into the center of God’s heart centered on the lost in the deepest evil and darkest places. Thrust into those places (geographical and situational) we quickly realize we have no strength and no ability in the flesh to contribute. Overwhelmed we are propelled into the presence of Jesus and find Him sweeter in adversity than we do in affluence. We go to the gates of hell and find “the Lord is there.” We launch into the deep only to be overwhelmed by encountering the depth of God. Be not afraid to represent God among the unreached far from home. It may be the only way to move yourself and your family from the shallows.