“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make His face to shine upon us, Selah
that Your way may be known on earth,
Your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
let all the peoples praise You!
So far in this series, God’s Heart for the Nations, we’ve seen thatmankind is not at the centre of God’s plan and the Bible is not about us. And we have also seen that the Bible is not simply a collection of 66 books. It is actually one book telling one story with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. We learned how God’s blessing and His purpose for that blessing connect and we saw how God reaches the nations by blessing His people.
In this post, we will learn that we do not worship some tribal deity or the god of a region or a people or a country. We worship the God of all nations. And this truth is plainly seen in the psalms of Israel. The psalms and the prophets reveal God’s heart for the nations, God’s call for the nations to worship Him, and the declaration of praise among the nations by His people.
Let’s look at a few Psalms and learn what God tells the nations to do, what God tells us to do among the nations, and what God is saying to the nations.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
Now, therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.
Remember that when the psalmists use the word “peoples” they are referring to the nations.
In this Psalm, God is acknowledging that the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain, because He is God and He is sovereign over all. He has set His King on Zion and will give to Him the nations as a heritage. Thus He warns the nations and tells them how they ought to behave before the King.
From You comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear Him.
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before Him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve Him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it.
In Psalm 22 we see God saying that all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations will worship before our Lord. Because kingship belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations. And this will be told about the Lord to the coming generations, coming and proclaiming His righteousness. Lots of worship from the nations.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power that Your enemies come cringing to You.
All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your name.” Selah
Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds towards the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in Him, who rules by His might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations—let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard.
In this psalm, God is telling the whole earth to sing the glory of His name and to give Him not just praise but glorious praise. His wonderful deeds are to be remembered and rehearsed because He rules by His might forever. The peoples are exhorted to bless God and to let the sound of His praise be heard. Again lots of worship from the peoples.
Now let’s look at messages from three prophets.
Jeremiah 1:5, 16:19-21
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to You shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say:
Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.
Can man make for himself gods? Such are not gods!”
“Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know My power and my might, and they shall know that My name is the Lord.”
It is clear in Jeremiah’s call that God had consecrated Jeremiah as a prophet,
not just to Israel, but to the nations. And the verses from chapter 16 show us
that in the day of trouble the nations will come to God from the ends of the
earth and acknowledge the emptiness of the lies inherited from their fathers.
Man cannot make for himself gods, for such are not gods. Thus God will make
them know His power and His might and they shall know that His name is the Lord.
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
In these two verses from Daniel 7, we see that the son of man was presented before the Ancient of Days so that He would be given an everlasting dominion and glory and a kingdom in which all peoples, nations and languages would serve Him. This kingdom shall not be destroyed.
For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to My name, and a pure offering. For My name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.
In this verse from Malachi God reveals that His name will be great among the nations and that in every place Incense (praise) would be offered to His name.
It should be pretty clear by now that God has indeed blessed His people and continues to do so today. But that blessing comes with a responsibility to make His name known among the nations to the end that every people, tongue, tribe, and nation will worship His name and declare His marvellous works.
What about you?
Why do you think that most of us miss the connection between God’s blessing and His purpose and our responsibility in that purpose?
What steps could you take to be more aware of your responsibility to the nations? If you would like more ideas, leave a comment below.
And please share this post with others.