“Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”
This statement, made by John Piper, expresses a deep biblical truth so well. All through Scripture, we see passages that proclaim God’s desire for all people to worship Him. Revelation 7 gives us a climactic picture of a day when “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” You can almost feel God’s heart leap for joy as this event takes place.
This truth is described in the Old Testament so many times in so many ways:
- To Abraham, God promised, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you,” Genesis 12:3.
- “The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere,” Isaiah 61:11.
- “Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You,” Psalm 67:3.
Let’s consider Psalm 67 for a moment. The Hebrew word for “people” literally means “tribe” or “people group.” With that in mind, this statement takes on some interesting nuances. The Psalmist is expressing God’s passion that every people group in the world will praise Him. In fact, Matthew 24:14 expresses something quite similar: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” The word for “nations” here is “ethne”, meaning ethnic group. These passages burrow into the details of God’s heart for a lost world, that not only does He long for everyone to know and praise Him, but that people from every people group are represented before the throne–just like the above Revelation 7 passages unveils in the final days.
We still have work to do. The Joshua Project projects that over 2.5 billion people in the world are still categorized “unreached.” Over 7,000 people groups have still not heard the gospel message. These are big numbers, revealing the size of the great task ahead. Let’s remember, however, that technology of today is enhancing the processes of language development, gospel delivery, and global awareness. It’s takes renewed focus, fresh strategies, and relentless perseverance to see God’s passion become a worldwide reality, however.
Psalm 67 challenges us to take our blessings and bless the world for the glory of God. In the verses that preceed the refrain of all the peoples praising God, we are poignantly reminded to be the vehicles of His grace.
“God be gracious to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us— Selah. That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations,” Psalm 67:1-2.
In essence, Scripture is helping us understand that all the blessings God lavishes on us is not just to indulge ourselves. We are SO blessed so that “Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among ALL the nations!”
You and I are called to be vital participants in God’s great plan. Take the blessings God has poured on you — wealth, health, knowledge, joy, wisdom, time, religious freedom — and let this propel you to help reach those who still do not know Jesus. Let’s God’s heart for lost people grip you and move you to action in ways that touch our world for God’s glory.