Monday, January 12, 2009

The Single Thread of Color...

In the opening verses of the book of Genesis, even in the first chapter, we have the command and instruction from God for mankind:

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:28

At the outset of our existence on this planet, God Almighty left us a two fold charge: (a) be fruitful and multiply; (b) fill the earth and subdue it.

This shouldn't have been a hard goal. (especially since most of us like the first part anyway...) But, no less than ten chapters later, we see that mankind had already lost it's way:

Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4

Now, this is the point where most Sunday school teachers would say that God 'punished' the people by confusing their languages so they could not finish the tower. And, that may be a valid point... but I think the correct way to see this, as well as most interactions that man has with God in the Bible is in the light of our mission given to us by the Lord. The confusion of Babel was not as much a punishment as it was a course correction from the Lord for us to get back on track and fulfill the mission... Spread Out! Not only were the people staying in one place, in direct disobedience to God, but they were also trying to build something that would "...make a name for..." themselves. This is our condition at it's best, we're always looking out for ourselves.

Now, let's fast forward a few years to the coming of Christ and his last commission to his disciples. Much like God the Father's charge to Adam, Christ is now instituting a new people and He gives them a clear command:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

Again we are given a two fold mission: (a) Go; (b) make disciples. I think it's important not to simply brush over the "Go" in this verse and miss the impact and reflection that it has on our original mission from God. We must spread out, get out of our comfort zones in order to fill the earth.

Finally, just like at the Tower of Babel, we see the Lord enable His people to complete the work that He has given them to do:

"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language." Acts 2:4-6

I realize that for most of us Pentecostals, the power of this verse is in the speaking... but I would like to focus on another portion of this text: "Every nation under Heaven".

The miracle of the Day of Pentecost was not merely that we had been given the power of the Holy Spirit, but that God was now enabling us to complete the mission. Just as the confusion at Babel caused us to spread out and fill the earth (God's first mission), the day of Pentecost brought all of those "confused" nations and languages back together to hear the singular message of His Son. And just as the creating of different languages helped the people at Babel to complete their mission, so the empowering of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost now allows us to complete our mission.

"The single thread of color that is woven through the great tapestry of the Bible, is stained red with the blood of Christ and perfectly put into place by God's own hand to lead us to love Him, and to save us to serve Him."

- Just a thought.

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