OT Part 3: God’s Communication Strategy
In this blog we have been reflecting upon the important messages God has planted in the Old Testament of the Bible that impact our lives today. We have acknowledged that the Old Testament is an ancient book and for people living in this fast paced, rapidly growing information age it appears to come from a different world that has no relationship with our present one. But, even though our historical setting is vastly different than that of the Bible, the human heart is still the same. The broken spirituality, intimacy, psychology and ecology we experience today existed then as well. So, when God addressed the brokenness in human lives then, in this ancient text, God’s message echoes down the corridors of history and speaks to us today as well.
Interestingly, on the spiritual side of this brokenness every religion known to humanity agrees. All human beings need to be reconciled with their god. Every religion directs its people to what they must do if they hope to be reconciled. The faithful follow the directions ‘religiously’ in hope of winning their god’s approval and being rewarded with heaven as they define it. However, it is the Judeo-Christian heritage that offers the unique message that it was God’s action that initiated spiritual healing, an action the Bible calls “atonement,” because God wants a restore relationship with human beings.
But how is this message of God initiated reconciliation communicated to humanity? The Old Testament reveals that God who could have communicated this good news by himself chose to covenant with people to communicate this message. When God called Abram to be a partner in God’s purposes God said,
2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
It was through Abram that God chose to bless “all the peoples on earth.” As the story unfolds we see that the blessing was a restored relationship with God.
As the Old Testament story unfolds we see that some of the offspring of Abram (who became Abraham) were included in the process. When the Israelites had left Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land, God told Moses
3 … “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel:
4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’
These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Exodus 19:3-6
It is fascinating that in a story focused on a particular people, Israel, that God claims ownership over all (Although the whole earth is mine…). It is interesting that the role defined for these ‘claimed people’ is to be a ‘kingdom of priests.’ The role of priest has always been to bring God to the people and bring the people to God.
A primary method God has used to bring the message of spiritual healing and reconciliation to humanity has been through people, people who have experienced that good news in their own lives. It is a very human process. When I see a great movie I WILL tell friends and acquaintances about that movie. If I have a great meal at a restaurant I WILL tell people so they can share in the experience. If I have taken a great hike I WILL tell people all about it so they can walk that trail as well, and, I will probably post it Facebook.
God set a pattern in the Old Testament that continued in the New Testament and continues today. It is important for us to understand that we who have experienced God’s reconciling grace are part of God’s communication team to share that grace with the world. Like yeast spreading through the whole loaf, we are to allow the Grace we have experienced to touch others by how we live and what we say. WE ARE PART OF GOD’S COMMUNICATION STRATEGY TO RECONCILE THIS FALLEN WORLD.