The Nations of the World
“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8 NIV)
The patriarchs, psalmists, prophets, and apostles never heard the word globalization, but they still had an interest in the nations of the world. Jehovah wasn’t a local Jewish deity; he was and is “ruler over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5). In God’s eyes, the nations are “as a drop in the bucket… as the small dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15), but they are also the fields into which the church sows the seed of the Word of God (Matthew 28:18-20). God’s ministries to the nations are important to every Christian believer who prays “Your kingdom come.”
God made the nations. “And He has made of one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). The nations began with Adam and Eve and developed after the flood (Genesis 10-11), and then spread abroad. While the focus of the Old Testament is primarily on Israel, dozens of other nations are mentioned, and Christ’s “Great Commission” exhorts us to take the gospel to every nation (Luke 24:46-49). God made the nations.
God sustains the nations, “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). While the nations have different languages, customs, and resources, they all depend on the sunshine, rain, food, wind, and soil provided by the Lord. They also depend on one another…
God assigns their times and borders. He has “determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings (Acts 17:26). Nations and empires come and go and national borders change, but national history and geography are in the hands of God. The Lord also has a hand in the leaders of the nations. “He removes kings and raises up kings” (Daniel 2:21). “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). “God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another” (Psalm 75:7). This doesn’t mean that God is to blame for the foolish and selfish things leaders have done, for each one of us is accountable to God for our own decisions. God can even use unconverted government leaders to fulfill his will. He used the Gentile nations to chasten his people Israel, and a Roman emperor to make sure Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
God desires that the nations be saved, “so that they should seek the Lord… and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). In Old Testament times, Israel was called to be a “light to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6) but failed in that ministry. Through the witness of the church today, that light must go into all the world (Luke 2:32; Acts 13:42-47). The nations have rebelled against the Lord (Psalm 2:1-3), but his invitation still goes forth to Jews and Gentiles alike (Psalm 2:10-12)…
Don’t forget to pray for the lost in the nations of the world and to do all you can to share the gospel with them. God wants to redeem people “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). God reigns over every nation; is he reigning over our lives?
-Warren Wiersbe (excerpted from the devotional book Old Testament Words for Today)
“Then Jesus came to them and said, … ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…’” (Matthew 28:18-19)
Read Psalm 47.