During one of our recent Biblefresh seminars we were trying to get to grips with how the whole Bible fits together as one coherent story. This involved looking at the idea that ancient Israel was given a missional mandate, which was, according to Chris Wright, ‘entrusted to them from God for the sake of God’s wider purpose of blessing the nations. Israel’s election was not a rejection of other nations but was explicitly for the sake of all nations’ (in his The Mission of God, p65).

 

In previous lectures, to illustrate the purpose of Israel’s election and subsequent blessing to the nations, we have often used the metaphor of a shop’s display window, presenting its wares for all to see. Israel was to demonstrate to the surrounding nations how to live a faithful life before an Almighty God. However, in contemporary UK society with the decline of town centre shopping and the rise of internet shopping this metaphor feels less compelling.  We no longer window shop, but browse the internet, navigating to several home pages, clicking tabs, or clearly identifiable icons before we find what we are looking for.

 

This shift in consumer purchasing inspired a thought: that Israel’s missional function could be more adequately imagined as an internet home page. From within this metaphor, Israel was to be the home page that all the surrounding nations navigated to find how to live before a Holy God. This would include all the intricacies of dietary laws, private and corporate worship, temple duties, cleansing rituals, offerings, ethics, politics, etc. In other words everything relating to a righteous life should have been easy to access by navigating to the desired tab, icon or news feed. However, as the majority of us are aware every website has the potential to house a destructive virus or worm, leading to corruption, distortion and the inability to function according to its design and purpose, which brings us back to the Old Testament’s portrayal of Israel. And, as ever, the challenge remains for the church today…

 

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