Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
Hey everyone. I apologize once again for being untimely in the blogging. It seems that the last month was the blink of an eye. I have had a hard time deciding what to blog on. With how fast everything has moved, I find it hard to sit down and process long enough to develop a thought that could become a blog post. Jon has been going to church an hour early on Sundays, which gives me time to study. I have been reading through Romans, and this Sunday God really put something on my heart as I read.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel,” Exodus 19:5-6. This is God’s call to Israel, just before giving the 10 commandments. He is telling Moses to declare to Israel what they are going to be as a nation. A kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Priests were to stand in the gap for sinful people so they could have relationship with God. God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of priests, of people who stand in the gap for others and show them God. A holy nation would be an example of living rightly before God to show the other nations around them what life lived according to the Word of God was. You could say that Israel was to be a nation of missionaries, fulfilling God’s call to make His name known.
Fast forward to Romans 9. This chapter is Paul telling the Jewish believers that God has a right to save whoever He wants, including *gasp* gentiles! Then in Romans 10 Paul explains how it is that these lawless gentiles could possibly be saved. He quotes from Deuteronomy to show that even from the beginning it wasn’t a matter of being able to follow the Law, but of having faith in the coming Messiah. “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (verse 10). Then we get to the well-loved Romans 10:14-17. (We even have some of those verses on our postcards for Coupals2Uganda). Because they are great verses to encourage people to consider missions abroad. God is clearly showing the need to preach and teach the Word! Paul brings out the Old Testament references showing that God would reach out to the gentiles. But that isn’t where Romans 10 stops. The next several verses are spent indicting Israel for NOT being a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
Paul isn’t just cheering on future missionaries and evangelists. He is showing the failure of Israel. Israel was to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. They had the blessed opportunity to BE the beautiful feet that preach the good news. Instead, Israel hoarded the Word of God and became unfaithful. They traded relationship for religion. And God’s purposes weren’t stopped, but Israel lost the blessing of being the ones to faithfully declare the Word. Romans 10:21 (the last verse of the chapter) says, “But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people”. Disobedient and contrary people! Israel had the Word of God, they had the directive to show the world, and they were disobedient.
How easy it is to be a disobedient and contrary people! So many of us in the church have the mentality that missionaries/pastors/ministry leaders, you name it, are somehow specially equipped and called by God. But God is calling every single person in His church to be a part of the kingdom of priests and holy nation. Just like Israel, we have the Word of God and His directive to make it known. Yet, so often we refuse. We believe that the work of ministry is for someone else. But each and every one of us is called to be the beautiful feet that make the name of Jesus known.
As the church we need to take our calling seriously to preach/teach the Word of God. It isn’t for one specially called person; it isn’t for leaders and the super-spiritual. This is the call of God to every believer. Anyone called by the name of Christ belongs to a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. So today, let us refuse to be disobedient and contrary. Let us not fall into an us/them mentality. Let us walk by faith in the promise that God is calling all people to Himself, Jews and gentiles, but we are to be the mouthpiece, declaring the good news.
We can have feet that are blessed because we use them to share the good news of Jesus; or we can have feet that are firmly rooted in disobedience and apathy.