“God’s mission: does it matter?” (Isaiah 40, 55-60)
Asking “God’s mission: does it matter?” deserves more than a brief “yes” or “no” answer. A fuller answer will come as we begin to explore in Isaiah something of the vision for the mission of God amongst his people, being set in place. Then we will be better placed to answer this big question and others connected to it: “Does what matters to God matter here?”. “How are we demonstrating our response in the reality of our being church?”.
During June-July and September-October we’ll be reflecting on Isaiah 55-66. Writing for Scripture Union, Chris Wright* comments:
“Chapters 40-55 of Isaiah clearly address those who were exiles in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. They are chapters full of new hope in God’s plans for the future … [including the return to Judah]. They are followed [in chapters 56-66] by words which seem to address the situation after that return.
“The people faced both encouragement (they had returned to Jerusalem and could look forward to a great future of God’s blessing there), and great discouragements (there were tensions and divisions in the community and opposition from outside, as the book of Nehemiah shows). Worst of all, it seemed that many of the age-old failures and sins of the people were still incurring God’s anger. So the flow of these chapters swings from blessing, to judgment, to lamentation.
“One of the major themes is that the restored people of God will become the agents of God’s mission to the nations worldwide.”
As Christians, we see God’s purposes for His people fulfilled in Jesus who calls us to share in that mission empowered by the Holy Spirit. In the light of our verse(s) for the year, we continue to seek the Lord and His ways for us so that we might bring Him glory and be fruitful in His service.
(* Old Testament scholar Rev Dr Chris Wright was Principal of All Nations Christian College. He is currently International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership International.)
Today, God invites us to come and discover that He meets all our needs. There are wonderful promises here but also a challenge to turn to God ‘while He is near’ and realise His ways are not the same as ours.