God has a heart for missions. His final word of command was to send His followers to every people group on the earth to share the good news of Christ. However, His followers don't seem to be nearly as excited about missions as God is. It seems that missionaries throughout the ages have been reluctant to leave the comfort of home and safety for the unknown perils of the mission field. In God's Story in History, we are told how the gospel spread through the world despite the believing community.
"Where possible God accomplished His will through the voluntary obedience and godliness of His people, but where necessary, He did His will through involuntary means." ~ Ralph Winter
In Genesis 12, God unfolds the vision for His plan for the world. From Genesis 12 to the end of the Bible, one long drama unfolds: God's plan to redeem His fallen creation through the giving of His Son. God intended the Israelites, starting with Abraham, to be a missionary people. The "blessing" He promised to Abraham was conditioned upon Abraham sharing his blessing with the nations. But the Israelites failed over and over. They refused to go willingly. So God sent them unwillingly. Time and time again, God used the Israelites' disobedience to display His power and might to the surrounding nations, whether His children were cooperative or not. This often meant sending them into captivity. Their captors saw the power of God, even when the Israelites did not.
Then Jesus appears on the scene. He was sent to His "own" but the second He reveals God's plan to share the blessing with the Gentiles, His "own" erupt in fury. The Israelites just aren't okay with serving a missional God. They failed in their job of blessing the nations, so God moves on to the next group: the Gentiles.
Unfortunately, the Gentiles don't do much better. More on that tomorrow.
On a lighter note...I am tempted to watch the season premiere of America's Next Top Model tonight. This is probably the only TV show that I have a desire to watch.