“Praise the Lord, all nations!” In the Old Testament era, the idea that the Gentiles—the nations—would all worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was revolutionary. Yet here was the call of God to them right in the songbook of Israel! God’s Word to all people groups became the message of His chosen ones in the Promised Land as they sang Psalm 117. Not only was the Lord telling the Gentiles to come to Him, His people were commanding and inviting the world to extol the one true God.
Two reasons were given in this brief song. First, “great is his steadfast love toward us.” The nations could study the history of the Lord’s dealings with His people. They could consider how He saved so many families from death through the blood of a lamb. They could hear about the discipline of the Lord toward the next generation in the wilderness. The Gentiles could meditate upon God’s saving works for those who went forth in conquest into the land of Canaan. They could see His dealings with judges, kings, prophets, and priests. What covenant faithfulness! What steadfast love!
Secondly, this promise: “The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” Israel’s God would never give up on His people. He was capable of making and keeping an eternal commitment. Could the idols of the Gentiles give them any eternal security?
Both of these truths should have produced a thirst among the nations for a relationship with Israel’s God. Was it possible that He could be their God as well? Why else would He be calling them to praise Him?
Though a clear invitation was tucked away in this and many other psalms, the fulfillment of the words of Psalm 117 awaited the beginning of a new era. With the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the King of the Jews began a new reign over all the earth. Just prior to His ascension, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection King is bringing the message of good news to the world. He used Israel to sing the words of invitation for many centuries, but now He uses His church to suffer and die so that the Word of our Redeemer might be known and sung in every land. “Praise the Lord!”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
God of all the earth, everyone everywhere should worship You. Use us as Your servants to extend the glory of Your Name to lands that have never heard of You. Bring the power of redemption through the blood of Your Son to every nation.