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Ron Brown /Monday, October 25, 2021

 

One of the threads running through the Old Testament is how the heart of God leans towards “the nations.” So, while God had his chosen people, the Israelites, with whom he worked and walked, there is seen bubbling up here and there in Scripture his interest in the non-Jews, known as the Gentiles or “the nations.” This is obviously an inclusive God. For Him it’s not just about the blood clan, but His concern is that those who were outside His family should hear, know, and understand that there is a God in Israel who is powerful.

All the People of the Earth

It hit me first when reading the story of David and Goliath and then many other biblical stories from my childhood.  I remember the stories well.

But in later years I would notice and underline the phrases that followed these colourful tales…

In very vicious language, we read David’s words, “Today, the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!” (1 Samuel 17:46)

After Joshua and the Israelites had crossed out of Africa onto the dry bed of the Nile River, they piled up some stones as a memorial. There Joshua explains why God did this - “He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:24)

In Solomon’s powerful dedication prayer after building his temple he articulates, “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name………In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do.” (1 Kings 8:41-43)

All the People of the Earth (in Canada)

I was pastoring a little church in Vegreville, Alberta in the late 1970s when there was an influx of Vietnamese coming to Canada; they were often referred to as boat people. Some settled in our town and found work to support themselves in local businesses. Today there is a large network of Christian Vietnamese churches across Canada. These were foreigners, many came to know God here in Canada.

In more recent days the Canadian government has helped to settle refugees from places like Syria and Iraq. My wife, Myra, has friends who are Yazidi including a mother, her two sons, one daughter and her sister-in-law. Three young daughters were abducted and were not heard from again.  While language capacity is still growing, there is the gift of presence and the love felt through the mutual exchange of gifts, often gifts of food. Of course, our prayer is always that “all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you”.

During the rest of this year in Canada we will be blessed to receive potential new friends from Afghanistan. As they move into our neighborhoods, we can bless them by having conversations to help them get language fluency and help them find jobs. Eventually we hope to share a meal in our homes.

We will first see them as foreigners, but soon they will become friends. By faith we declare that through our engagement and attitudes, they too will be part of, “all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you”.


Ron Brown is a Senior Associate with Simply Mobilizing Canada. He was born and raised in Central Africa by missionary parents. He then lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal for 26 years while engaged in international work with CMA-Canada. His education degree is from the University of Calgary and his missiology degrees are from Canadian Theological Seminary (Ambrose Seminary) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (DMin) near Chicago. He currently lives with Myra in Calgary, Canada.  www.globalvault.ca 



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