Unity in Christ; February 23, 2021


Zephaniah 3:9 “Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder.”

Every once in a while you run into a verse in one of the “minor” prophets that blows your mind. (Incidentally, they are called “minor” simply because their books are short.) This verse explicitly states that every people-group on earth will call on the name of the Lord and serve Him as one (as the Japanese puts it). From our current Christian perspective it seems almost incredible that the Jews were so insular for so long, so convinced they were the only ones whom God could accept. However, there are people of various races even today who are convinced their genetics make them somehow superior to others. Right now in America there is a strong push in some quarters to despise Caucasians, simply because Caucasians seemed to “have the upper hand” for so many centuries. This verse expresses something disciples of Jesus Christ have known since the 1st Century: in Him, there are no racial barriers at all. We know, simply from a mention of his nickname, that one of the leaders of the church in Antioch was a black man. (Acts 13:1) And he’s the second one listed, right after Barnabas! The devil wants us to focus on differences, when ultimately there is only one race, the human race. That awareness should color both our daily lives and our attitude toward evangelism and missions. We want to be useful to God in the fulfillment of this prophecy!

As I have written before, this has very much been my experience. I remember meeting a couple of Russians at a conference in Hong Kong (where we were all “foreigners”) and how delighted they were that I could say a few words in Russian. My pronunciation was good enough that at first they were convinced I really spoke it! I have had sweet fellowship in prayer with people of many nationalities and languages, some of which I could pick out a few words and some not at all, but we were all motivated by the same Spirit, and it was glorious. I look forward to that day when I will worship God before His throne with “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.” (Revelation 7:9) Until that day I will strive to be useful to God in adding to that number, whatever they look like or sound like!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for the clarity that so much of what is going on in the US today is of the devil. I do pray that Your name would be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done on every level, in love, purity, and holiness, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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