Last week I was enjoying the worship time with my church family and we started to sing “Joy to the World”. It’s a song that we’ve all sung for most, if not all of our lives and we know the words pretty much by memory. (Maybe not the harmony parts, that always seems to be reserved to the extremely talented few. I am not one of those few.)
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.
I have to admit, and this may be a little embarrassing, I’d never really noticed the words “and makes the NATIONS prove the glories of His righteousness.” I don’t know why. Right now I’m blaming the fact that the melody of the song inserts a decently long pause after “prove” and “the glories”.
Isn’t that a great set of words though? A deep, powerful nugget of missions truth in a potentially over played and little mediated on song?
HE (God), makes the NATIONS (all ethnic groups, all peoples) PROVE the glories of His RIGHTEOUSNESS!
If you’ve ever hung out with any GFM folks, you quickly learn that we want to remind you that all throughout the Bible we read how God has always loved all peoples. And His desire has always been for all peoples to worship Him. But does He actually use the nations to prove how great He is? Does God actually interrupt other nations’ history besides Israel’s to show that there is no one more righteous than Him? Let’s do a quick check.
Daniel 2:47 (NIV) The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
Daniel 3:28-29 (NIV) Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
Daniel 4:34-35 (NIV)
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: “What have you done?”
(You know what, you probably should just go read the first half of Daniel. The Lord did a lot with the most powerful nation on the earth at that time!)
How about with a different nation? What about with Pharaoh during the time of the Exodus?
Exodus 9:15-16 (NIV) For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
I could keep going, but I won’t in order to keep this reasonably short. But hopefully you see the point?
It’s Christmas time. It is a season where we celebrate the gift of Jesus to each of us individually. What an amazing, precious thing this is. But please do not forget the nations during this time. Jesus was not a gift only for Israel or North America. He is for all peoples and all nations and He uses all of us to prove how righteous and holy He is!
Merry Christmas from all of us at GFM!