By Russ Mitchell
Russ is the field director for One Challenge (OC International) in Romania – www.oci.ro.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. Psalm 96:2-3
In part one, we began to consider, “What is your part in God’s plan to glorify his name among all peoples?” Psalm 96 speaks extensively to this question.
We discovered that the first theme of Psalm 96 is worship. But more surprisingly we discovered that all peoples everywhere are called to worship the Lord, an implicit mandate for message bearers to take the glad tidings to all peoples.
In the same breath the psalmist introduces his second theme, the call to become involved in God’s mission. Where as the first theme of Psalm 96, worship, implies an implicit mandate, the second theme is an explicit mandate. That is what we will look at here.
In the first part of Psalm 96 we see the call to involve ourselves in God’s mission mentioned twice.
Part 1: Psalm 96:2b-3
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
We also see this same theme echoed in the second part of this Psalm.
Part 2: Psalm 96:10
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Thus in Psalm 96 we find three commands to communicate the truth about God to others. Two of these commands clearly have in view telling all nations and the peoples. Unmistakably the second theme of Psalm 96 is mission. Psalm 96 by itself gives us a sufficient mandate to become involved in God’s mission.
Some think that the message bearer mandate is found just in the New Testament. But it is found in the Old Testament too. Here in Psalm 96, for example, we see two clear commands to tell all peoples about God’s marvelous works.
In all, there are ten passages in the Old Testament where God’s people are commanded to tell the nations about God’s glorious deeds. There are just five in the New Testament. So there are twice as many commands in the Old Testament for God’s people to be engaged in God’s global purpose.
Clearly God’s people in the Old Testament understood that they had a message for the nations and a responsibility to tell them about the glory of God. In a sense, we don’t even need the New Testament to establish a biblical mandate for our involvement in God’s mission. All the essentials (as we shall see) are found here in Psalm 96. So let’s look a closer look.
Who is to declare His glory to the nations?
Just as with the first theme of worship, there is another question that we need to answer, namely, “Who is called to declare God’s glory among the nations?”
Look carefully and you will see that the same people who are called to worship are also called to take the message to nations! And who is called to worship? “O families of the peoples.” “All the earth.” All peoples everywhere!
In the Old Testament we might expect a call to God’s people, Israel, to become involved in God’s mission. But here we see that the Gentiles, in fact, all people everywhere, are called to tell other peoples this glorious news once they have heard of God’s salvation.
Thus the call to mission is universal. The Gentiles are called to be message bearers. So we find the principle that those who receive the good news are also called to take the good news those who have not yet heard. After all, how can those who do not know God worship him unless those who already know God go and tell them?
Get Involved in God’s Mission
In the Old Testament we discover that God is on a mission. His purpose is to glorify his name among all peoples. We also discover God graciously invites his people to join him in what he is already doing to realize this purpose. (Abraham, Moses, Israel, Joshua, David, Solomon, Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Zerubbabel are several examples.)
Specifically God is working to be known, worshipped and obeyed by all peoples. So, should not this be our aim as well? Bringing our lives into alignment with God’s purpose inevitably leads to our involvement in his global mission.
Have you embraced the glad tidings of God’s salvation? If so, God now calls you to become involved in his mission. You are called, indeed commanded, to take this good news to those who have not heard. Telling the good news is not a task reserved for a few with a special ministry calling.
This is not just the responsibility of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. “’You are my witnesses’, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 43:10,12). Telling the good news is just as much a part of your spiritual life as prayer, giving, worship or loving your neighbor.