Paul tells us in Romans 15:8 that the Son of God came to confirm God’s promises to the Jews. But immediately then he adds in verse 9, “and in order that the Gentiles—the non-Jewish peoples of the world—might glorify God for his mercy.” And then he tells us what it means to glorify God for his mercy—his mercy! He quotes four Old Testament passages about God’s purpose for the joy of the nations (Romans 15:10-12):
As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” (2 Samuel 22:50) And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43) And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” (Psalm 117:1) And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” (Isaiah 11:10)
An historical book, a book from the Pentateuch, a Poetry book and a Major Prophet gather up all his words! It means, Let the peoples praise! Let the peoples sing! Let the peoples rejoice! Let the peoples extol! Let the peoples hope! This is possible only IN GOD! It is unmistakable what God is up to in history! The gladness of the peoples in God!
If we go back to the Psalms, the purpose of God for all the peoples of the earth is clear: joy in God above all things. Consider these related passage from Psalms:
- Psalm 47:1, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”
- Psalm 66:1-2, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.”
- Psalm 67:3-4, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.”
- Psalm 68:32, “O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord.”
- Psalm 96:1, “Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!”
- Psalm 97:1, “The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!”
- Psalm 98:4, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”
I believe this is one reason why we like the Psalms! There is no doubt that God’s global aim in creation and redemption is not only the glory of his name but also the gladness of the peoples. Specifically, the gladness of the peoples in God. This surely must be one of our supreme ends in giving to missions - spreading the gladness of peoples in God; to Asia, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Denver - spreading joy in God above all things.
In this I see MISSIONS as an invitation to: Join with God, join in bringing gladness, join in uniting people with God, join in bringing hope. To join in both the divine glory of lifting up His Name and in the selfless act of bringing true gladness to humanity.
In light of this, for this year’s Missions Giving on May 22nd, I encourage you to not give your minimum - to not give reluctantly - to not miss the opportunity to give, but to instead give in hope - give in faith - give abundantly - and give in expectation! And in so doing embrace this great end—the supremacy of God in the joy, praise, hope, and gladness of all peoples ... in God!