Did God’s plan for Israel fail resulting in Him creating another plan that included the nations? Let me say right off I believe the answer is no.
God’s Plan Has Always Included the Nations
Even though the Old Testament is primarily focused on the nation of Israel, we see a glimpse of God’s desire to save all nations. Resulting in His mission as always being focused on, and including, the nations.
Since God’s mission has always been focused on the nations, we, as God’s ambassadors, are to take up His mission to reach all peoples with the gospel.
With that in mind, let’s look at some key verses that I believe shows God’s heart for the nations.
Key Verses Showing God’s Heart for the Nations
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God tells Abraham that all the families of the earth will be blessed in Him. He then is the source of blessing. From him comes the Messianic seed, Jesus, who is the Christ. It is Jesus who will bring redemption to all nations and all peoples (Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:17; Matt. 1; Acts 3:26).
In Psalm 22:27-28, we are told that the Lord will rule over all nations and all nations will worship Him. Granted some will bow down unwillingly, but many will bow down willingly to God as their Lord and Savior.
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.
In Psalm 67, the Psalmist prays that God would bless the nation of Israel, so that His blessing on them would cause all the nations to know He is the one true God and worship Him.
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!
In Isaiah 56:3,6-7, the foreigner is not kept from joining Himself to the Lord. Rather, he will be brought into God’s holy mountain. His sacrifices will be accepted, and he will experience the joy of the Lord.
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
“The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
In Zechariah 2:10-11, we are told that many nations will join themselves to the Lord.
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
So then, after reading the verses above, we are not surprised at what Paul writes in Ephesians 3:1-6
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
As well as we are not surprised that in Galatians 3:28-29, Paul tells us that all those who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved, and that all those who believe in Jesus by faith are Abraham’s offspring.
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
The nations were not an afterthought. The Gentiles were not God’s Plan B. He has always had a concern for the nations. His desire has always been for them to experience salvation.
While Israel is God’s special people, experiencing special privileges, they are not God’s only people. Rather, they were the way in which God deemed right to bring salvation to all peoples. In short, Israel was God’s first ambassadors. They were how God manifested Himself to the nations. They were God’s light to the world.
Through God working in Israel the gospel has been made known to the Gentiles. As well as the gospel has been believed by the Gentiles because they were also foreordained to be God’s people.
So then, God has always had a heart for the nations. It has always been His plan to bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles alike.
Now that we know God’s mission, we are to take up His mission. We are to be His ambassadors, bringing the message of the gospel to all nations, so that all nations will experience salvation.
Questions for Reflection
- How are you doing at being a light for God where you work, live, and play?
- If we took our mission seriously, do you believe there would be more people reached with the gospel?
- Are you allowing the world’s comforts to stop you from sharing the gospel with others?
4 thoughts on “God’s Heart for the Nations”
I’m thinking of Psalm 2 which tells us to ask for the nations and He will give them to us.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
I also find Psalms 2 interesting.
It starts with the nations raging and plotting against the Lord, trying to overthrow His rule over their lives. At this sight, the Lord in heaven just laughs because He is the ruler of all the earth. He then pours out His wrath on them, in order to show that they cannot overthrow the Lord. After which, He sets His Anointed, His Son, Jesus, as the king over the nations. They become His possession and they are under His ruler. All those who do not worship the Son will experience the Lord’s wrath, but those who do worship Him will find refuge in Him and will be blessed.
So then, Psalm 2 is a call for us to recognize God as the ruler over the nations, knowing that He gives power to whom He will. In this case, it is to His Son, Jesus. It is also a call for the nations to fear and worship God, serving Him instead of themselves.
What a powerful message and a great reminder that our Lord is King and ruler over all. No one can over throw Him. And those who worship Him will be blessed and will find refuge in Him.
How good is our God!!
Casey, thanks for your response. I’ve been listening to your sermons and I am delighted that you are a teaching pastor! We need more.
I’m praying for you and your ministry on a daily basis.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and your prayers. I am blessed to have someone like you praying for me daily.