Sermon Title: “For the Sake of Your Name, for the Sake of All Peoples: The Praises of God and the Joy of the Nations”
Date: Sunday, December 31, 2017
Speaker: Pastor Joseph
us (vv. 1, 6)
way (See Ps. 1:1, 6; the contrast between the way of the righteousness and the way of the wicked)
praise (ydh, to give thanks)
nations (goyim) (3 times, vv, 3, 4)
peoples (ammim) (vv, 2, 4 (4 times)
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” —John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, 11
The occasion of this Psalm was probably sung in the harvest-thanksgiving festival as indicated in verse 6, “The earth has yielded its increase,” which invites exaltation and praise of God. Hence, the people of Israel honor God and revere his name because of material blessings and that he has granted them a growing and productive season of harvest. Yet, the people rejoice more because of God’s spiritual blessings, and that the fundamental idea of the Psalm is that God has spilled his knowledge and made his salvation known to all peoples and nations resulting in the blessings and joy of the nations and the peoples.
Psalm 67 highlights the fact that God is not the tribal God of the Israelites, but he is Yahweh, the Sovereign Lord of the universe and the cosmic Ruler of all nations and peoples; as a result, all peoples, both Israelites and non-Israelites, should acknowledge his redemptive power and salvation; the nations should know God and respond reverently and humbly to him in gratitude and praise. The thrust of this intercessory prayer is that God’s blessings upon the Israelites should lead to the salvation of all peoples. God will bless his people for the sake of the nations. The psalms shows correspondingly the particularity of God and the universality (vv. 2, 4, 5, 7) of God.
The prayer can be divided in three parts or three stanzas: (1) The longing of the people (vv. 1-3); (2) the just rule of God and joy of the nations (vv. 4-5); and (3) the universal praise of God and his universal blessings on the nations (vv. 6-7).
- The Longing of the People (vv. 1-3)
- What do the people long for?
- What are their collective desire?
- What are they seeking for from Yahweh?
- What is the thrust of their intercessory prayer?
The people yearn for three incredible things:
- They long for the blessings of God for themselves (material concerns).
- They crave for the manifesting presence of God (spiritual concerns).
- As God’s worshipers, the people of God pray fervently to God, so he could make his will (“way”) known to humanity and to reveal his salvation to the nations.
- The longing of the people for the universal knowledge of God and his salvation in the world is linked to the very purposes of God in human history (v.2)
Verse 1 alludes to the famous prayer found in Number 6:24-26, the so-called the priestly blessing or the blessing of Aaron. It thus reads:
“22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Based on verses 22-23, the prayer expresses God’s desire to bless every Israelite. It is God’s intention to bless the Israelites as a people. The name that is used here is God’s covenant name (Yahweh) in verses 22, 24, 25, and 26. The first question we should now be asking is this: whom does God bless? The second question is connected to the first one: how does God bless his people.
By the virtue of the usage of God’s covenant name, verses 22-26 already indicate that God only blesses those who are in a covenantal relationship with Him. While God may bless everyone in a general sense, but he has very specific blessings for those who know Him and who are known by Him. According to Leviticus 26:3-14, the blessings the covenant people receive from God are as follows:
- He gives them rains in their seasons (26:3)
- He safeguards the crops of his people and provides good harvest (26:4-5)
- God’s special blessings comes in terms of his abundant peace in the land (26:6)
- God’s special blessings to his people include both safety and protection (vv. 6-7)
- He gives them victory over their enemy (v. 8)
- He gives them children and men and women, husbands and wives the ability to procreate and multiply (v.9). The Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord.
- According to verse 11, God gives Himself to the people. He allows them to access his presence. He dwells among them
- Finally, in verses 13 and 14, another divine blessing from Yahweh is that his people will not walk in shame, but in dignity. God is the lifting up of your hand. He will raise you and give you honor before people who have always thought you are nothing and that you couldn’t do it.
As people of God, these same promises are also for you and for your children. Be encouraged and take heart. God will sustain you.
- The second yearning of the people surpasses their material blessing. It is indeed a clarion call for God’s majestic and beautiful presence to be felt and experienced by his people (Ps. 4:1). In various passages in the Bible such as Ps. 31:16; 80:1, 3, 7, 19; 118:27, the presence and glory (kabod) of God are linked with God’s decisive action to deliver his people, to free them from oppression and abuse, and to save them. Thus, verse 1 anticipates the coming of God to his people through worship.
Notice the intimate connection between verse 1 and 2. The inevitable link of these two verses clearly indicates that the blessing of God’s people is related to the extension of God’s salvation and knowledge to the entire world. In the same way in verses 5 and 6, the ground for the fear of the Lord is the visible witness of God’s blessing upon the land. In Psalm 98:2-3, God’s faithfulness to and love for the Israelites is critical in his demonstration his saving grace to the world:
“2 The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.”
The first stanza of the poem or prayer is closed with a universal call to praise God, as it is affirmed in Ps 22:27:
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
Moreover, it is good to say that in verse 2, salvation and knowledge of God precede praise. One cannot properly worship God if he or she is not redeemed. To put it differently, authentic and reverent worship is grounded on an intimate saving relationship with Jesus Christ. As Jesus Himself states in John 17:3, “This is eternal life that they may know you, the only God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Verse 2 should compel us to entreat God to give us a heart for the nations, for the lost people and the unchurched in our city. The Passion of the psalmist coincides with God’s desire to spread a passion for his name, his fame and glory in the city of Fort Pierce, in our nation, and his nations.
Hence threefold call to praise God and be glad in Him indicate a prior relationship with God. God does not welcome the praise and worship from people who do not know God or embrace his Son Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior. It is blasphemy if he does. God will belittle his own fame if he accepts false worship. Both the praises of God and blessings from Him are conditional upon one’s relationship with His Son.
In our city, neighborhood, our impulse is this: we must seek urgently to share Jesus with those how are different from us. We must seek the salvation of the people in Fort Pierce. They are precious to God. Jesus died for their sins. Jesus is the most pressing and urgent need for the people in Fort Pierce and the Treasure Coast.
2. The Just Rule of God and the Joy of the Nations (vv. 4-5)
More importantly, God’s ultimate desire is for his presence and glory to cover the surfaces of the earth. In various passages, he presents himself as a missional God whose goal is to bless all nations and to save all peoples. Let’s look at some scriptural references:
Ps. 96:3, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”
Ps. 105:1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”
Ps. 117:1, “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!”
Is. 34:1, “Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it.”
Is. 49:6, he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Yet verses 4 and 5, the joy of the nations is grounded on the just rule and guidance of God. It is a verse that celebrates the kingship of God and God’s ability to act with equity and impartiality.
Ps. 89:9, “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.”
Is. 60:3, “And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
The joy in God? Is God your joy? Do you enjoy God in worship and in exalting his name?
The righteous rule of God and his just character incite joy and gladness in the worshiper’s heart. The joy of the people is also grounded on God’s equity as Judge and Rule.
Because of God’s just rule and guidance, there’s none like Him. He puts leaders to places. He disposes them. He uses both and bad rulers to accomplish his goals. No one in the world is the Supreme rule; no one has ultimate power to govern, but God does have all the power and strength to dominate with righteousness, integrity, and grace.
3. The universal praise of God and his universal blessing on the nations (vv. 6-7)
The words, “God shall bless us” in repeated fashion clearly indicates the certitude of God and certainty of his blessings upon his people. Let’s look at some biblical references:
Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Is. 66:18-19, 18 “For I know[a] their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming[b] to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.
“9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation”
A possible meaning of all people groups: tribe, tongue, nation (ethnous), people (laou), peoples (laoi)
Panta ta ethne=people groups (Greek)
All the nations= kol goye (Hebrew)
who can praise God? (v. 3) who can sing the joy of the Lord ? (v.4). This prayer of praise, grace, and redemption entails a threefold request: (1) to receive God’s grace, (2) to receive God’s blessing, and (3) to experience God’s intervening presence and redemptive salvation. The result of such blessings is that God’s way may be known, and that God’s redemption salvation may also be known in the world. If God blesses us and gives us grace, therefore people will walk according to his will and they will experience his salvation and power.
Finally, the Psalm focuses on “peoples” and “nations” not “individuals” justify his ultimate end to create a new people and new human race to praise Him. The God of the Bible, who is glorious and majestic in all he does and will do, is anti-race, anti-patriotic, anti-nationalistic. Since he has intended to and continues to work a “new race” for Himself, God rejects the cultural values and privileges associated with one’s nation, ethnicity, language, nationalities. The mission of God and our work to evangelize and make disciples are all connected with the worship and praise of God. Your vision for the world is cosmic, inclusivistic, and it crosses ethnic, national, linguistic, and geographical boundaries.
Oh God, give us a heart for the nations. Oh God, give us a heart for the people in Fort Pierce so they can know your way and saving knowledge. Oh God, our Redeemer let our heart bet for the lost and unchurched in the Treasure Coast. Give us passion and zeal to pray for their prosperity, safety, welfare, and their ultimate salvation in you. Oh God, not only you want to be known universally as it is portrayed in this Psalm, you want to be known locally here. You want to save people universally; you want to redeem them here in Fort Pierce. Let us be your tools. Let us be your senders. Let us be servants of this city. In Jesus’s name.
*** To view the sermon notes in PowerPoint presentation, click on the link below
The Application of this Message for the People of God at Jesus Center
Community-Prayer Drive: An Evangelistic Method
January February March April May June 2018
prepared by Pastor Joseph
The community-prayer drive is an evangelistic method designed by Jesus Community Church to seek God’s grace, loving-kindness, and guidance on behalf of different communities and neighborhoods in Fort Pierce; as God’s servants in the city of Fort Pierce and in the world, we plead urgently with God that he would transform the City, draw the lost and the unchurched to his Son, and make the name of Jesus Christ highly exalted and honored among all individuals and families in Fort Pierce. The focus of this evangelistic outreach is on “intercessory prayer” while driving into the city.
- To impact and seek for the welfare, prosperity, and salvation of the people and city of Fort Pierce through fervent intercessory prayer.
- To foster better friendship, effective relational evangelism, and fruitful servant evangelism.
- To get more acquainted with the physical locations and living conditions of the people in Fort Pierce.
- To learn how to relate to the city of Fort Pierce, be sensitive to its needs and ills, and forge new kinds of social dynamics and relationships with the city residents.
- To offer effective services to individuals and families and forge new bonds of social solidarity.
Length of the Program:
The community-prayer drive is a six-month program that will begin in the second week of January and end in June 2018. This activity will take place twice a week on any day of the week and a weekend, preferably a Saturday.
The community-prayer drive is organized in team of three and four individuals through the method of carpooling. Each team will meet at the end of a designated street twice a week to offer intercessory prayers for the individuals and families of that specific street.
- Jeremiah 29:7, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf…” (Read Jeremiah 29:4-14)
- Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
- Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
- Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
- 1 Timothy 2:1, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men..”
- Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”
- James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…”
- Psalms 33:8, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!”
- Amos 9:13, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.”
- Isaiah 62:6-7, On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, 7 and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.
- Habakkuk 3:2. O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.”
- Frequency: the community prayer drive will take place twice a week.
- Carpool: 3 to 4 people in a car
- Survey and drive through one the neighborhoods in Fort Pierce, as identified below
- Stop the car at the end of a given street and pray for the people who live in that particular street.
- Length of prayer: each team should pray for 10 to 15 minutes for every home, individual, and family in that particular location. If there are three people in a team, each individual person should pray for that team. The idea here is to have everyone in the group plead to and intercede before God for that specific street.
- Meetings and Streets: the group will cover 10 streets per meetings; in the two meetings designated per week, the group will pray for these same 10 streets twice. In other words, these same streets will be repeated twice in both meetings. Each week, the group will cover 10 streets, and in a month, the group would have covered 40 streets in that particular neighborhood or community; that is, the group would have prayed for 40 streets in a month.
Locations & Places to Visit & Time-frame:
- Lakewood Park (January)
- Sabal Chase Apartment (behind the Walmart on Okeechobee Rd) (February)
- Jenkins Rd, (i.e. Treasure Gay Luxury Rental Apart on Jenkins Rd), and Graham Rd (March)
- Kirby Loop, Edwards Rd, S 13th St, S 25th St, S 19th St, S 35th St, S 29th St, Atlantis Cove: A Rental Community, S 19th St, etc. (April)
- Sunrise Blvd, Oleander, Okeechobee Rd, S 39th St, St 33 rd St, Avenue A-Q (May)
- Winter Garden PKY, St. Lucie BLVD/King Highway, (June)
***The places identified above are some of the major roads and living residences in Fort Pierce.
- Your physical presence in the community
- 3-4 peoples per team
- Your Bible
- Jesus Center “You’re Invited” Card
- Evangelistic Tracks
- Water bottles