Let the Coastlands Rejoice!

Part 4 of a 7 part series. View series intro and index.

As we have seen thus far, God’s mission for the world is to make a people for himself.  This is the great theme from the time of Abraham to the time Israel entered Canaan and then on through David and Solomon. This next chapter of this story doesn’t focus on a particular person.  Rather you will be able to see that our focus is moving from the promise and hope of a global gospel, to the call of all nations to rejoice and find their salvation in the LORD, the only God.

In Psalm 72:10-11, Solomon writes, “May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!  May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him.”  This is the same Solomon who built the temple.  Remember what Solomon prayed then?  He asked that God work for his people so that all the peoples would know that the LORD is God.  At the temple dedication he made the request to God — now he gives the call to repentance.

Psalm 97:1 says much of the same.  “The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!”  We might assume that this psalm was written by Moses because it has many echoes of Exodus.  So the same Moses who received the Jewish law on Mt. Sinai is proclaiming that salvation has come and is coming to all the nations.  Similarly, Psalm 67:4 says, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!”  Salvation is not only for Jews.  It’s for all peoples everywhere.

Isaiah and Jeremiah also share this vision of the world-wide worship of Yahweh.  Isaiah writes, “Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel” (24:15) and “Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands” (42;12).

Jeremiah is God’s prophet to his people Israel.  Yet he also declares, “hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock'” (31:10).  Later in that chapter, Jeremiah prophesies about the new covenant that will be for the house of Israel and Judah (vv. 31-34).  This comes, not to physical Israel, but to everyone who is the offspring of Abraham (Rom. 9:4-7; Gal. 3:28-29).

The God of Israel is primed and ready to move from being the God of a specific people group to the God of all people groups.  After all, this was his goal from the get-go.