John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

God Is Also...

God is not just interested in "spiritual" things. He's interested in everything. God is also not just interested in "his" people. He's interested in everyone.

The Israelites in the Old Testament fell into the trap of thinking that because they were God's special people, the rest of the world didn't matter to him. In doing so, they basically reduced YHWH to a tribal deity, placing him on part with other nation-specific gods. In their minds, there was the god of the Cushites, the god of the Moabites, the god of the Philistines and the god of the Israelites.

Whose god was more powerful? Watch the fate of those nations and find out.

But YHWH is different. He's not just concerned with the welfare of his people; he's concerned with the welfare of all people.

The Bible, after all, begins with Adam not with Abraham -- with the father of all nations not the father of the Jewish people. Even when God approached Abraham, his goal wasn't just to create a special people but that through those people all nations on earth would be blessed.

So, for those who, for example, believe that the USA holds some sort of special position with God, I need to say something: Even if the United States is particular among the other nations (and I'm not saying I believe or disbelieve this), it would not give us license to despise or reject other nations. This would not give us a reason for arrogance. This should only increase our sense of responsibility to be part of God's plan to bring blessing to all nations.

Second, for those who believe that the Church is now the inheritor of all the blessings of the Old Testament as "spiritual Israel" (and I'm not saying I believe or disbelieve this either): We would be wise to learn the lessons from the Old Testament. We must never succumb to pride or exclusivity. We should be far less concerned with who's "in" and who's "out", and we should be far more concerned with who's hungry and who's lonely.

Ultimately, we must busy ourselves with the task of partnering with God in his mission to one day restore what the fall has broken and bring to perfection all that he has made -- regardless of whether it's sitting in a pew in our local church or kneeling in a mosque halfway around the world.