Nov 14 16

The Light of the Nations

vmsmith

Psalms 67:1, 4

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah…O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. (Psalms 67:1, 4)

Once again in the psalms we are brought to a message about the millennium when our God shall rule the whole earth in a literal, physical kingdom. Verse 4 speaks of this kingdom as one in which all nations will be able to enjoy the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ.

There is a sadness to this psalm, however. It should have been written about the condition of Israel at the time of its writing. Through Israel the world should have already seen that salvation was not only for the Jews and that Jehovah was not just the God of Israel. He is to be worshipped and glorified by all people. When Jesus was taken to the temple for His circumcision, there was an old man named Simeon who was guided by the Holy Spirit to take the baby in his arms and pronounce a blessing. Simeon was overjoyed to see the Christ child and he said: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)

At the time of this prophecy, Israel had long been in unbelief. The world had not been influenced by them—and even worse, there were hardly any believers in Israel at all. It is small wonder this should be the case since the nation had previously been in serious idolatry. The northern tribes had been assimilated into the peoples of Assyria and the southern tribes had been oppressed by the Babylonians. Even though the captivity was over, they had never since been free to rule themselves. This was God’s punishment for not guarding their trust to be a light to the Gentiles.

We needn’t think God’s purpose of salvation for all people would fail because of the Israel’s unbelief. Paul explains in Romans that Israel’s failure and their temporary chastisement was the opportunity for the salvation of other nations. As long as the Jewish laws and customs were enforced, they would be a serious hindrance to the gospel. God moved them out of the way, but He never intended to leave them set aside.

During the tribulation, God will resume His work with His chosen nation. He will raise a remnant of Jews that will recognize the Messiah. Under divine protection, they will preach the gospel until a vast company of Israel has received Him as Lord. They will also become a light to the Gentiles until there is a great multitude ready to enter the millennial kingdom. This has been our subject for the past two weeks in the morning sermons and will continue next week as we examine the closing statements of the Olivet Discourse.

We are not to look at these psalms as a message only for the millennium, however. Our job today is to show that Jesus Christ is our God, and only by believing in Him can any people be blessed. If we fail to do this, we are also in danger of being set aside. Without obedience to our duty, we will not be counted among the faithful redeemed. How have we been busy to proclaim the gospel message? Who have you spoken to at work or school or in any place where you regularly encounter the lost? Each person is a potential believer, but they will never be so until they hear the gospel. If we proclaim salvation, God will bless us and cause His face to shine upon us. Only then will the world be saved.

Pastor V. Mark Smith