In Scripture’s first mention of mankind, God announced His desire to have children, a family of offspring who would live as extensions of His image and likeness. (a) [see end notes for all Scriptures] So He created the vast natural universe and a unique planet as a place to birth, grow, teach and develop His offspring. (b)
After forming the first human, a combination of natural dust and a deposit of His Spirit, God endowed the new personage with the ability to sense, communicate, and interact with both the natural and spiritual realms of reality. A living being/soul “became” as the new creature became conscious and aware. (c) Then God’s spoken word took from the first to form a second, so the two could interact and assist in the development and growth of His family. (d) So, what is God’s vision for us as His people?
Expressions of God’s CAP
Sadly, the first two people (Adam and Eve) chose to ignore God’s direction and turned to focus on wisdom gained from the “good and evil” experiences of natural life. (e) This did not negate their or our ability to hear from God for He continued to give insight to offspring regarding their “choices and attitudes.” (f) Thus, you and I, yes everyone, is a good and not-so-good image and likeness of God’s character, attitude, and personality (CAP).
When children are birthed into existence, they are further expressions of God (g) and are able to interact with both the natural and spiritual sources of life. Our ability to be better images and likenesses of God’s heart improves as we are more responsive to His influencing presence. To see beyond natural perspectives we must be visionary people.
Throughout history, many people have responded to God’s insightful guidance. (h) Longing to see enlarged demonstrations of His influence in our lives, God appeals to us as “peoples,” as interacting communities and nations. While God has a vested interest in each person, He has illustrated over human history a parallel purpose in our function as gathered people, as nations.
Scripture verifies God’s interest in national affairs by saying; “He sets up and brings down kings,” and “determines the times nations operate and sets their boundaries.” (i) God even establishes nationhood for “the sake of His people.” (j)
Yes, God supernaturally intervenes in human affairs. He gathers many small groups who respond to His guidance while living in this natural world’s good and evil atmosphere. God even expects people to function as nations and be larger witnesses of His reality to other people groups.
God supernaturally intervenes in human affairs.
History and Old Testament Scriptures record a time when God delivered a multitude out of slavery with the vision of interacting as a free nation. During the Exodus from enslavement in Egypt, multitudes gravitated to the vision of a life where they were free to prosper.
Despite a common perception, God’s call was not to a single family. Think about it – the Exodus from Egypt happened just four generations after Abraham’s family of 70 entered Egypt. (k) Conservatively counting a wife and two children for the 600,000 men of war age, there were at least 2.5 million people, truly a mixed multitude. (l) The invitation was to all people of faith (m) who desired to interact “as a kingdom, a righteous nation” under God’s kingship. (n)
Fifty days later every person heard God speak and invite them to personally interact with Him. Almost without exception, personal contact was rejected and they appointed Moses to be their mediator. (o) Following their rejection, God provided a visible tent as a reminder of His presence among them and a system of priests to facilitate worship.
The national vision needed time to settle in and change their servant mindset. Their ingrained beliefs, desires, and attitudes would complicate life as free people. The slavery concept of life under overlords had to adjust so they could be responsible, own property, and prosper as free people. A people, under God’s leadership, really could be free to work hard for profit rather than for overlords. This would allow them to share from their profit and help those in need.
Elders and judges who showed they were wise and discerning men and women were elected to manage areas in the nation. Local leaders could consider motivation and circumstance, evaluate, and then render rectifying judgements. Decisions were patterned after God’s method of judgement and sought to correct bad action and bring restoration to the offended. (p) The nation flourished under God’s Kingly reign for several generations.
God delivered a multitude out of slavery with the vision of interacting as a free nation.
The Second Call
Five hundred years after their freeing journey into nationhood, they chose to be like other nations and have a King. Submitting to man’s rule, the nation strayed from God’s oversight and began to lose personal freedoms. (q) After 500 years, a class separation entered the national experience. From that time forward, the nation’s distress and prosperity largely depended on the action and attitude of the King.
The national witness continued to fall short because they failed to properly teach their children the ways of God. (r) Every few generations they forgot God and erred from His ways of life. Trouble brought repentance and deliverance followed. Their continual straying from the ways of God eventually caused the national experience to cease. The once faithful people were scattered all over the world. (s) They failed to heed God’s cautioned, “If you will…” (t)
Fifteen hundred years after the vision was first given, God intervened afresh with a New Covenant. Jesus Christ proclaimed the New Vision which focused on what the first gathering refused: personal interaction with our heavenly Father.
We can learn much from history’s response to God’s call to be a people. Our next blog will shine a light on the New Vision.
Jesus Christ proclaimed the New Vision: personal interaction with our heavenly Father.
a) Genesis 1:26; b) Genesis 1:1-30; c) Genesis 2:7; d) John 1:1-4; Genesis 2:7, 18, 21; Acts 17:22-27; e) Genesis 3:6; 2 Corinthians 11:3; f) Genesis 4:6-7; 4:1; g) Genesis 2:4; 4:1; 5:1-2; h) Isaiah 63:11; 2 Peter 1:21; i) Acts 17:26-29; Job 12:23; Daniel 2:21; j) 2 Samuel 5:12; k) Genesis 46:27; 1 Chronicles 6:1-3; l) Exodus 12:37- 38; m) Romans 4:9-16; n) Exodus 19:4-6; o) Deuteronomy 4:12; 5:1-4, 22-27; Exodus 25:8; p) Psalm 19:9; Isaiah 26:9; q) 1 Samuel 8:7-22; r) Psalm 78:5-8; s) Amos 9:8-9; t) Exodus 15:26; 19:4-6
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder