Imagine being stranded on a desert island in the middle of the south seas. You find two crates ashore. One contains three years’ worth of MRE’s (Meal-Ready to Eat: self-heating, preserved complete meals). The other crate contains only Bibles.
You have nothing to do but make your hut, build a signal fire, and wait for a rescue. You rip open an MRE, activate the little heater in it, and find some shade. You’ve never read the Bible before, though you’ve heard of it. You figure that it is good to simply start reading what appears to be the main text. Page 1. “In the beginning . . .”
The story grips you and you hang with it day after day, sipping coconuts, reading the Old Testament. Malachi ends the section marked “Old Testament.”
Do you think you’d have any idea that 1) the Lord would send a rescuer to his people? 2) that the rescuer would not be a political rescuer, but one who would rescue people from death itself? 3) that this rescuer would restore the relationship clearly broken between Adam and all his descendents and Jehovah?
If not, then check out this verse recorded by the prophet Isaiah:
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 25:7-8, ESV
The imagery used here reveals generosity, compassion, commitment, and ability to right our wrongs and restore to perfection what was broken by our sin and rebellion. He even goes so far as to get involved personally–swallowing up death. Death! What smothers all of mankind our Father is able to remove! Hallelujah! Furthermore, He has spoken to us by His Word and His Word is final. Death is removed, its sting no longer potent.
How fitting that God should turn our eyes to this passage in relation to missional prayer. In the Old Testament, God promised to swallow death up and wipe away every tear. Amen! In the New Testament, we see the fulfillment of that promise in Jesus, the Final Word. Notice:
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. –Revelation 21:3-4, ESV
Please pray with us with this aspect of God’s character firmly in our spirits.
- Ask God to open the eyes of the Somau Garia speakers who do not know him to the reality that He alone can take away their fear of death and the realm of the dead that so many fear.
- Ask God to open the doors for the completion of the translation of the New Testament in the Somau Garia language. The Gospel According to Mark is in use, the rest of the NT remains to be translated.
- Ask God to provide for our return to PNG in His time, in His power, for His purpose.
- Thank God for people who are hard at work drafting and preparing further books for translation.
- Thank God for mission partners who currently support this ministry.
- Praise God for his compassion, for using his power to reconcile, heal, comfort, and establish his followers with life.
Many thanks to those of you who are moving with us into the trenches, standing in the gap, making intercession for a people whom God loves and desires to redeem.