Missiologists love to talk about the parts of the Psalms that call on the nations to praise God and there are a lot of them. But there are even more references to their defeat! On top of that, it seems to be God’s glory that is the focus, not the nations. So what can we say about God’s attitude to the nations?
We’ve looked at:
- how to read the Psalms
- who the nations are
- general themes about the nations that come up in the Psalms
- how those themes work across the book
- how Israel relates to the nations
- what the defeat of the nations means
God’s attitude to the nations is significantly more nuanced than just ‘God loves the nations’ or ‘God hates the nations’. The nations are always on the horizon of God’s work but they are neither the primary focus nor the ultimate goal. God works through Israel to draw the nations to himself – either by praise or by defeat. Either way, they are incorporated into his people Israel for his sake, so that they would praise him. Thus while the Psalter opens with the nations in rebellion and an invitation to praise God, they close with one people united in proclamation of God’s greatness.
God has great interest in the nations, to bring them into his people where they can praise him as part of that community. All for his glory!
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.