So how does a biblical view of monotheism — that YHWH is the one and only God — and this God’s mission to make himself known throughout the world, especially in Jesus Christ, lead to a missional understanding of the Bible? This is what Chris Wright discusses in the last part of 4 in his book The Mission of God. Or put a little more clearly: How is biblical monotheism missional? A good question for your cup of coffee or for a chat with a friend. So, put away the little thingies in your ears from your iPod and ponder this question with us.
The first thing to observe is that a biblical sense of mission is driven by God’s will to be known; or put from the other angle, a biblical monotheism is one in which that God wants to be known throughout the world. Here is a principle text, Psalm 22:27-31:
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him?
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn?
for he has done it.
Which means three things:
a. The good of creation depends on humanity knowing God.
b. The good of creation comes from humanity knowing the biblical God.
c. God’s will to be known is the mainspring of our mission to make God known.
Second, biblical monotheism involves a constant christological struggle. The Bible reveals a battlefield. The claim that God reveals himself in Jesus continues the struggle we find in the Bible with other gods and it also reveals a God who is unique.
Third, biblical monotheism leads to praise and praise leads to mission. The Psalms are filled with the summons for others to worship the God of Israel, and to say that God reveals himself in Jesus is to say that this God of Israel is revealed in Jesus — and that means worship of that God leads to worship through and of Jesus.
Biblical monotheism finds a beautiful expression in Psalm 96:
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his [fn1] holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, ?The Lord reigns.?
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
13 they will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.