I will praise Him!
Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
(Psalm 96:7-10, NIV)
I will praise Him!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
(Psalm 96:1-3, NIV)
1914, atheists, blaming God, citizen, conflict, disaster, human stupidity, Kingdom of God, Margaret MacMillan, national interests, national objectives, nations, plans, slaughter, The War that Ended Peace, war, World War I
Reading: Psalm 33
The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do (NIV).
I confess I am a bit of a history buff. I am currently reading The War that Ended Peace by Margaret MacMillan. The subtitle is The Road to 1914. As you might guess, it highlights the causes of World War I. Throughout, the author meticulously points out that war was not inevitable. A change in course by any of the key players in the years leading up to 1914 could have prevented this monumental catastrophe. Each nation had plans and objectives that they considered in their best interest. Quite naturally the pursuit of those plans led to conflict with neighbouring nations with opposing objectives.
What does the psalmist say about national objectives? The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Nations pursue their own perceived national interest. Despite the rhetoric we sometimes hear, they do not pursue the plans and purposes of the LORD. For political leaders national self-interest trumps the purposes of God. In fact the purposes of God are seldom considered. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Was it God’s plan and purpose to have millions of Christian believers go to their slaughter in World War I? Many atheists purport that this is what we believe. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are responsible for our own actions. God does not cause war. Humans cause war and they carry it out. Why should we suddenly blame God for what we have engineered through our own dogged stupidity? Blaming God for our own arrogant idiocy is the pinnacle of irresponsibility, yet we do it all the time, both on a national and a personal level. Most often we are the author of our own disaster. We stubbornly fail to pull back and change course before it’s too late.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.
Response: LORD God, thank you for choosing me to be to be one of your people. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to you, my Father. You watch over me. You, O LORD are my inheritance, and first and foremost I am a citizen of your eternal Kingdom. Amen.
Your Turn: How does personal conflict escalate? Do you blame God rather than yourself?
Reading: Psalm 22
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the LORD.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it! (NIV)
This final portion of Psalm 22 signals the ultimate triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the first half of this psalm Christ’s humiliation, suffering and death by crucifixion are vividly portrayed. With stunning accuracy and detail, David depicts these events from Christ’s perspective. Only God-breathed prophetic insight could reveal such truth through a human vessel. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
With today’s reading we discover the worldwide impact of Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection. All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.
Christ’s gospel—the good news of the Kingdom—has been voiced abroad. Death, hell and the grave have been conquered. Jesus Christ is Lord over all! Keep in mind that this turning to the LORD by all the families of the nations was an alien concept to the people of Israel during David’s time. Yet again, David spoke prophetically of the time when the gospel message would burst forth from its Jewish cocoon and be declared and received by ready hearts all over the world. Our Savior’s commission will be fulfilled. “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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
We have the promise of the worldwide spread of the gospel from generation to generation. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the LORD. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!
Response: Father, thank you for the good news of the gospel. Jesus is alive and reigns forever. Help me to do my part in bringing the message of your love and redemption to the world. I want to see people from all nations turning to you in repentance and faith. Amen.
Your Turn: How can we spread the good news? What are you doing to tell His story?