Tuesday, 15 May 2012

All Nations

1 May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us. Interlude
2 May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
3 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
4 Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world. Interlude
5 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
6 Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.
7 Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him. (Psalm 67 NLT)

The main purpose God wants to achieve in the OT is not the blessing of Israel – but the blessing of All Nations through Israel.

 ‘All Nations’ goes back to Gen 12:1-3 (v3 it is mishpahah ‘all families’ or ‘all clans’). Often the word for nations is goyyim. It can be negative (= ‘gentiles’) or positive, as in those God wants to draw to Himself, through His covenant people Israel.

There is a strong link between mission and blessing. ‘…make his face to shine’ from Numbers 6. Means to show favour. ‘Two men reported that Rabbi Abbahu had found a treasure. When they were asked how did they know, they replied: "Because his face shines".' To make one’s face shine for the towards another person means to show him favour, as in Pro 16:15.

The ultimate goal is believers v7; worshipers Jhn 4:23 (those worshiping in spirit and truth).
Mission in the OT is to do with drawing other nations towards Jerusalem to worship Yahweh, the one true God Isa 56:6-7. The foreigners actually become servants i.e. priests! The Old Testament context is important. We find ‘gods’ in Psa 95:3; 96:4-5. Each nation had their own ‘god’. Yahweh is King above all the gods, which are only idols. So the ancient Israelites had a belief based on Monolatry not Monotheism. Monolatry is 'the exclusive worship of one god without excluding the existence of others' (online dictionary). The gods of other nations were real to them even if considered merely idols by true believers in Israel.

Mission is centrifugal in the NT. Philip and Ethiopian. There are ripples outwards in Acts as first Jews, then God-fearers, then Gentiles are converted and filled with the Holy Spirit.

It’s not about us, it’s about Mission and the Kingdom of God!