Seeds of Mission in Isaiah

June 24, 2010

The following is an edited excerpt of an article written by Daniel Bianchi, from Lausanne Global Conversation. I’ve edited it because the English in the original was pretty rough. But Bianchi’s observations about the themes running throughout the Book of Isaiah, and how they reflect issues related to the mandate for Global Mission, are worth noting.

***

1. A Vision of God’s Supremacy

A vision of God and his uniqueness is the basis of a committed mission to his people and to the nations.

Ponder about the existing link between the vision of who God is:

  • in creation
  • in history
  • in redemption
  • in eternity

…and how that should fuel, sustain, strength and direct my mission commitment.

Throughout Isaiah the prophet declares and gives evidence that YHWH is:

  • Unique
  • Glorious
  • Just and holy
  • Merciful
  • Redeemer
  • Powerful

2. The Challenge of Idolatry

In the backdrop of Isaiah lays the pervasive influence of idolatry. Isaiah confronts God’s people with their sin and, bluntly, vividly, and sometimes sarcastically, points out their gross idolatry.

Idolatry is:

  • Foolish when compared to the revelation of who God is.
  • Helplessness when compare with the acts of God in history and in the story of His people.
  • Oppressive when compare to the grace and freedom of their relationship with the true God.
  • Inconsistent when compared with the nature of God and their identity.

The influence of idolatry is present today.  

This is not only a question of bowing down to images of stones or wood. Is much wider in scope, deeper in influence. The gods and goddesses of today:

  • power
  • wealth
  • knowledge
  • sensuality
  • etc.

…are as real, evasive and demanding that those of Isaiah’s time.

Furthermore, this brings the question on how we, as people of God, in our time and place, are to realate to peoples of other faiths in a pluralistic and relativistic society.

Yes, the people of God sinned. In due time God sent judgment. Now the time for restoration, comfort and re-commissioning had come. He would stand for his own again, and would do new things: a new exodus was coming, a renewed relationship, and a new Servant was to be introduced. The “Servant” would accomplish God’s will – although -in unexpected ways.

3. A Perspective of World Events

The prophet shed some light upon the unexpected ways that God has accomplished his purposes in the history of men. God called a pagan king: his anointed, pastor of his people, and a servant. Maybe that king remained totally blind to the fact that God was using him. Nevertheless, God did use him.

Going further, Scriptures, shows that sometimes God, in turn, sends judgment upon those nations and governments that He initially used to accomplish his purposes. This raises questions about how we might interpret todays events of history…

4. A Wider Scope for the Mission

Isaiah cares for his people and stresses God’s faithfulness and patience with Israel. However, he goes much further. He points to the Nations and the Peoples of the world.

Isaiah is a precious gold mine where we discover God’s universal and overarching purposes.

The stage is the Nations. The word “nation” has a rich theological meaning in the Scriptures. Some of Isaiah’s teaching on God and the nations:

  • Nations are insignificant when compare with God.
  • Nations will know the justice of God.
  • Nations will receive the light of God.
  • Nations will partake in the salvation of God.
  • Nations will have the witness of the people and the Servant of God.
  • Nations are the scenarios of God’s redeeming actions.

Conclusion

Isaiah shows that to join in God’s mission, we need a vision of God’s uniqueness and majesty.

This awe of God confronts all forms of idolatry and sin. First among his people. And then among the Nations. God is just, and will bring restoration and to execute judgment. He will accomplish His promise of redemption, hope and salvation to Israel and to the Nations through the calling, suffering and triumph of his beloved Servant and the resulting obedience of His people.

To read the original article click: Seeds

One Response to “Seeds of Mission in Isaiah”

  1. David Alexander Says:

    Dennis, I often thought about the men that God sent to scope out the promised land and that only two came back and basiclly believed God and wanted to go pocess the land against all human wisdom. We know how that worked out. In light of the artical below and this one I wonder what then is our responsibility. Are we to act like Calib & Joshua and follow Jesus with all we have and are or be one of the so called wise men and look to our human wisdom as those who didn’t want to go up and posses the land because it loks like we may not win the battle? (I know the answer) just wonder what it looks like in pratical terms without being crazy.

    But may be God is looking for some crazy people sold out for him in spite of Human Wisdom and the comfort we all seek. Talk is just talk.

    We must offer people the how to be abondoned for Jesus, sold out to him alone in practical terms of living, yet in ministry that makes a difference in transformed lives and communities.

    It’s my desire to be part of that one day….


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