Saturday, May 23, 2015
Immigration and Evangelism
2Chr. 6:32 “Likewise when foreigners, who are not of your people Israel, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this house, 33 may you hear from heaven your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigners ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.
Here in the midst of Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple he prays for a number of circumstances to be used to the glory of God. He prays for the foreigners who will come to Israel because they have heard about the great name of God. They have heard about the ways in which God is working in and through his people and as a result, people are drawn to the nation. God is not just blessing the people of Israel for their sakes, but for the sake of a lost world.
When the foreigners arrive they are to be welcomed and Solomon even prays that God will “do whatever the foreigners ask of you.” It is an evangelistic prayer. He wants the foreigners to experience the things of God so that they will worship and praise God and that the message will be spread among more and more people of the earth.
We begin to see here that immigration is God’s plan of evangelism. We pray for missionary movements and revivals to happen around the world (we do, don’t we?) — and we want to see God work in extraordinary ways. Yet, we fail to see that the extraordinary may be something we are encountering on a daily basis.
The foreigners who come to our lands are often drawn because of the resources that are available. When we become protective of those resources, concerned that there won’t be enough for all of us, then we fail to see the miracle that is at work. God, who multiplied the loaves and fed the 5000 is still at work today. He can help us multiply and share our resources when people are drawn toward us because it appears we have plenty. We need to ask God to help us open our eyes and see that this is his miracle at work.
The miracle is that the mission field is moving closer than we would have ever imagined. Every day I am in contact with people who have arrived in my neighborhood from around the world. I’ve never been to Vietnam but I see and talk to people who are Vietnamese on a regular basis. Years ago weren’t believers praying for the war — that the walls would come down — that we could share Christ with people. Now it’s possible in my own city. Isn’t that a miracle?
Solomon in all his wisdom saw the miracle of evangelism that could occur when foreigners came to Israel because the word got out about God’s work in the land. Have we been living in the blessings of God? Is that for us to enjoy, or for it to be used to the glory of God and to bring the world to him?
Solomon’s prayer went beyond his own people. We are encouraged by his prayer and so we pray for us, and the foreigners as well. May God use all of us in his kingdom’s work!
Lord, thank you for the foreigners among us for they are a sign of your activity. Amen.