“What Does God Love?”
Today we begin a 20-day series of devotions preparing you to go on a mission trip. This series aims to focus your thinking away from anxiety or uncertainty, and toward the confidence and assurance you can gain from God’s perspective. For many people, the unknowns of travel and the uncertainties of encountering other cultures may be frightening. So is the possibility that you may be inadequate for the tasks you are called on to do. These fears and uncertainties can dominate your thinking. But God’s perspective is far more valuable.
Beginning in Genesis we will follow through Scripture seeking to understand God’s plan for the world he made. Your mission—all of our missions—is to be a part of that. What does the Bible say about what God wants? What does he love?
The first two chapters of Genesis describe God’s making of the heavens and the earth. They offer a breathtaking picture of complexity and beauty, one that God could describe in its totality as “very good.” (1:31)
Here’s another way to describe it: it was a just world. There was nothing in it that was unsettled or unfair. Every creature was provided for. They had enough to eat. There was a settled order on the earth, in which humankind’s natural power of planning was used for good in the environment.
Just as a good king would rule benevolently in his realm, so humanity would rule peacefully and benevolently on the earth. They would, as God intended, mirror God in the universe. (That is what an image does—it offers a picture of the one it images. And God made male and female to be image bearers of himself.)
As you go on your mission trip, you will encounter a world that doesn’t look this way. You may find people who do not get enough food or other provisions they need for life. You may find animals and plants that cannot flourish because their environment does not provide for them. You may find people who do not mirror God in their behavior. In fact, they may make a horrible caricature of what it means to rule benevolently in their environment.
Whatever you see, you can gain a great deal by holding it up next to the first chapters of Genesis. Is this what God intended? Is this what God lovingly created? If not, how can we participate in making it right? That is what we call doing justice. When we say that our Lord is a God of justice, we mean that he is engaged in making the world right, spiritually, physically and socially.
Prayer: Father, just as you made a just and beautiful world, help us to participate with you in making a broken world right. Show us just one small piece of the whole that we can help to set on a course to please you.