Praise Yahweh–All the Nations!
“Praise Yahweh, all ye nations!
Laud him, all ye tribes!
For his chesed is mighty over us,
and the truth of Yahweh is eternal!
How greatly our God blesses his people! How wonderful is our God’s faithfulness throughout the generations! How our God has given us so much more—abundantly more—than we need and deserve! And how our God has shown us grace even in disobedience! Oh, beloved, how we should praise the God of Abram, Isaac, and Jacob who has adopted us as children through his Son, Jesus Christ! But not only should we praise God for his goodness to us, so should the rest of the world! Let not only God’s people praise his glorious name, let all the peoples of the earth praise his name for God has been good to us.
This is a bold statement, and it is one that we often do not think of when we evangelize the nations. We usually speak to them about grace and about the truth of God’s word. We speak to them about Christ and about Him crucified, and we speak about forgiveness. Now all of these things are essential to our witness, but the psalmist presents this as one more thing that is essential—come to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ because God is faithful to his people. And we, of course, are not just talking about any general faithfulness, but we are talking about God’s ds,x, (chesed)—God’s covenantal faithfulness in spite of our covenantal unfaithfulness.
Yet, even if the nations never come to faith, they are to praise God—even laud him—because of God’s faithfulness to us. Why? Because their gods, being of wood, metal, and stone, cannot respond for they are nothing more than the works of craftsmen—how can they respond, for they are deaf and mute! The tribes of the world know nothing about a god being faithful to them—they know nothing of chesed. And as they look to Israel—now toward spiritual Israel—they should rejoice that there is a God in the land who does actually care for his people and who proves himself faithful over and over in spite of his people’s unfaithfulness. It is the principle that it is right to rejoice with your neighbor over your neighbor’s blessings even when you lack. Oh, and let us not forget that for the believer, God’s blessings are meant to be shared as a tool of the gospel.
Oh, beloved, do we really believe these words? Do we really believe that every nation in the world has an obligation to praise God because God has been good to us? Are we bold enough to tell the Muslims and the Hindus, for example, that are persecuting Christians so harshly in many places, that their sin is not simply in their persecution, but their sin is in a failure to worship God. Are we bold enough to tell our unbelieving neighbor, that even though he is not receiving blessings from God, he has an obligation to praise God because God has been good to us. Do not miss the gentile focus of these psalms; they provide an apologetic of God’s grace to his people—a testimony of God’s faithfulness and goodness throughout their history—a sign of our great God’s grace to us, a sinful and rebellious people.
Dear friends, oftentimes, when we think about evangelism, we think about going door to door handing out tracts or using the Evangelism Explosion method of witnessing—and these are good tools. Yet, should we not give strong consideration to the evangelism methods that our Lord gives us in scripture? Should we not also give preeminence to those ways which God communicates in his inerrant word? If this is so, let the words of this psalm sink deeply in your heart. The unbelieving nations are called to praise God because God has been good to his people—to us. Do you live your life in such a way that unbelievers see God’s goodness to you? Is your lifestyle such that causes unbelievers to see and desire what you have that they lack? Beloved, this is the evangelism method of the psalmist—live your life glorying in God in such a way that the world is drawn to join you in worship. Yet, I wonder which is harder for most professing Christians in our culture, to pass out tracts or talk along a memorized script, or to truly and genuinely exalt in worship—exalting in such a way that it shapes every second of their life and every activity of their day. Beloved, that will attract people to Christ, but it demands your life. Are you willing to give it?
All glory laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.
Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s name comest,
The King and Blessed One.
-Theodulph of Orleans