Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 11, 2009

The Divine Heartbeat

Heartbeat-1   Every beat of God’s heart is recorded on the pages of Scripture. Listen carefully as you read your Bible and you will hear His divine heartbeat. From the moment Adam and Eve took their first steps away from God, you can hear the beat of God’s missionary heart. Feel the intensity of God’s heartbeat in the Garden as He hints of His plan to redeem His fallen creation (see Gen. 3:15). Sense the pain in His heart when He “saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become” (Gen. 6:5-6). Listen to the steady beat as a man named Abram “believed the Lord” (Gen. 15:6) and became the father of a great nation. Feel the strain as God dealt with His stubborn and rebellious people. Listen to the anguished beats of God’s heart as His only Son died for us on a cross. Feel the quickening pulse as God rolled away the stone from the tomb to see His Son emerge the victor over sin and death.

   Genesis is the book of beginnings. The famous opening words of the book invite us on a breathtaking tour of the beginning of the universe and the human race. According to Genesis, God stamped every phase of His creative activity with the word “good.” And then something bad happened. Adam and Eve rebelled against God, Cain murdered his brother Abel, the wickedness in the world led to a great flood, and human arrogance asserted itself at a place called Babel. Human rebellion and sin marred and disfigured all that God had created and affirmed as good.

   The first eleven chapters of Genesis tell the sad story of how humanity wandered away from God. The rest of the Bible tells the story of God’s loving pursuit of sinful humanity. The call of Abram (Gen. 12:1-3), whose name was later changed to Abraham (Gen. 17:5), marks a new beginning in the book of Genesis — the beginning of God’s redemptive journey in human history.

   Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldeans and later moved to Haran with his father (Gen. 11:31). God called Abraham, a childless seventy-five year old nomad, to leave his country and people and travel to another place which God would show him (v. 1). By faith, Abraham obeyed God and left his country and the people he loved to go to a land that was unknown to him (Heb. 11:8). Abraham never returned to the land he left behind.

   God had a missionary motive in calling Abraham. God promised to make Abraham into a great nation, to bless him, and to make his name great (Gen. 12:2). He kept His promise by giving Abraham an heir named Isaac. Isaac’s son Jacob had twelve sons. These descendants became a great nation known as the Hebrews or Israelites. God entrusted the nation of Israel with the responsibility of sharing the knowledge and love of God with all the nations of the world. God also promised Abraham that “all the peoples on earth” would be blessed through him (Gen. 12:3). God kept this promise by ultimately sending His own Son into the world through Abraham’s line. And, this last promise is still being fulfilled as Christ-followers bless others around them.

   Missions is indeed an expression of God’s heart. The call of Abraham teaches us that God’s desire for missions did not originate with the Great Commission (see Matt. 28:19-20) but is seen throughout the Old Testament. Just as God called Abraham, He calls His people today to leave the security and comforts they enjoy in order to bless “all the peoples on earth.” I appreciate what Reggie McNeal advocates in his excellent book “Missional Renaissance” (p. 47), “Instead of having an evangelism strategy, I urge congregations and people to develop a blessing strategy. This advice is based on God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12 where he makes the point of what it means to be the people of God. I usually challenge them to ‘bless three people this week.’ Then, to drive home a truth, I add, ‘and make sure one of them doesn’t deserve it!.’”

   Missions is indeed an expression of God’s heart. Like a divine electrocardiogram, the Bible shows us that God’s heart beats in love for all the people of the world. But, what about your heart? Does your heart beat in love for those who have never heard the divine heartbeat? Allow God to use you to bless “all the peoples on earth.” You can start where you are. Go out and bless three people this week!

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