Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

From the Editor

Written by George Bok
When we read the Old Testament we come across many references that point out that God will extend His saving power from the Jewish people to all nations. We think of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 Ð ÒIn thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.Ó Through Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed. He will be the father of a multitude drawn from all the nations of the earth. Paul reasons that Christ was the true offspring of Abraham and thus the heir of the promises (Gal.3: 16). This means that all who are united to Christ by faith become the children of Abraham. In this spiritual sense Abraham's blessing come to all peoples, tribes and nations.

One of the most vivid Old Testament illustrations of God's saving purposes for the nations is found in the book of Jonah. The prophet was commissioned to preach the Gospel to the pagan city of Nineveh. He tried to run away because he knew God would be gracious to the people and forgive them. The point of the book is not the fish that swallowed Jonah. It is about missions, and racism and ethnocentrism. The message for us is: be merciful like God, not miserly like Jonah. For Jonah, "be merciful," meant that he had to be a missionary. Nineveh did, in fact, repent in response to the begrudging preaching of Jonah. Jonah was actually afraid this would happen. "But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live" (Jonah 4:1-3).

Jonah is not a model missionary. His life is an example of what a missionary should not be. As he sulks on the outskirts of town, God appoints a plant to grow up over Jonah to give him shade. When the plant withers, Jonah pities the plant! Then God comes to him with these words: Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" (Jonah 4:10-11).

The missionary implications to be drawn from Jonah are not merely that God is more ready to be merciful to the nations than His people, but also that Jesus identifies Himself as "one greater than Jonah." He is greater not only because His resurrection is greater than surviving in a fish's belly, but also because He stands in perfect harmony with the mercy of God and now extends it to all nations. (Gleaned from Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper).

As the work in Cubulco continues, and the Word is preached, let our minds and hearts be busy before God in prayer that He would bless. Pray for wisdom and strength for our missionaries, that through their efforts many families may be blessed and God may receive the glory.

New Project
In the Synod Report (see elsewhere in this publication) you can read that our churches will be sending Pastor Ken Herfst to teach at the Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary, which has extended a call to him. This will give him the opportunity to teach Guatemalan men for Christian ministry, and in this way promote Reformed influence in Guatemala. We commend Pastor Herfst and his family to your prayers.

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