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Image by Milad Fakurian
  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

Qualified For Mission

Way back in 1970, the band Five Man Electrical Band released a protest song, Signs, which began:

And the sign said, "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"

So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why

He said, "You look like a fine, upstanding, young man, I think you'll do"

So I took off my hat, I said, "Imagine that, huh, me workin' for you?"

Job listing create a list of essential qualifications for a person who would be considered a worthy applicant for the position. The listing may cite a certain level of educational attainment, a term of necessary experience, necessary skills, and even personality traits. The listing may even suggest that those who don't meet the recommendations need not apply.

Isaiah 4:2-6 serve somewhat as a parallel to 2:1-5. Both have the redemption of God’s people in the renewed Jerusalem. Both see people streaming there. Both have God’s power and presence on display.

However, the contrast is the important element when considering the two passages. In 2:1-5, God’s people are engaged in the process of teaching Torah to those who have come to join them from around the world. It is about mission.

However, absent from 4:2-6 is the call to mission. It is replaced by a consideration of condition. With all of the prideful issues of sin, Judah can't be an effective witness for YHWH. Judah was currently unqualified for the job. Their condition needed corrected first.

Judah is thus restored in her holiness. Her unrighteous deeds, which are described as a menstrual rag, are washed clean. The blood guilt of their injustice is removed. But there is a warning - the qualifying might not be a pleasant experience.

Here we have that tandem unrighteousness/injustice replaced with righteousness/justice. Both continue to be equally important aspects of the life of allegiance to YHWH. Both are considered mandatory job skills necessary for the task. Mission can't be successful until they have qualified in these areas.

Likewise, we are unable to be employed in the work of mission without a requisite degree of holiness and justice. But God freely offers the qualifications necessary, not through our hardwork, but through his grace. But his corrective grace may be as painful as fire.

Has God qualified you by producing an attractive life of righteousness and justice which don't negate your mission?


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