Where Is God’s Country? What Difference Does It Make?
All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name.
Two weeks ago, our Sunday reflection focused on Psalm 82:8: “Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.” I entitled that reflection “Where Is God’s Country?” The answer from our text was: Every country is God’s country.
Today, I want to return to the same question, though with a twist. Psalm 86:9 offers a different answer to the question “Where Is God’s Country?” as well as a new insight into why this matters.
Psalm 86 begins with David’s deeply personal cries to God. “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer,” he begins. The first few verses of the psalm include several similar requests: hear my prayer; answer me; protect me; save me; be merciful to me; give me happiness; listen closely to my prayer; hear my urgent cry. But then, David’s perspective shifts from the intimately individual to the broadly global: “All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name” (86:9).
Notice how this psalm identifies the nations (using the Hebrew word goyim , which often refers specifically to Gentiles). All the nations (not just Israel) have been made by God. Thus, they ultimately belong to him. Moreover, all nations “will come and bow before you, Lord” (86:9). David envisions a day when all peoples will bow before the Lord.
As Christians, we look forward to this day and participate in its beginning. We who are Gentiles have been brought into God’s family through Christ. We are invited to approach God’s throne, both to worship and to share our deepest desires and needs in prayer. Even as we delight in what we ourselves have experienced, we also look forward to the day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). In the meanwhile, we reach out with God’s love and truth, inviting all peoples from all nations to join us in offering praise to God.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of God’s future, do you picture all nations coming to worship God? Why or why not? How might this picture influence the way you worship today? The way you live each day?
PRAYER: All praise be to you, O God, because you have created all things, including all nations.
All praise be to you, O God, because you have done great and wonderful deeds.
All praise be to you, O God, because one day all nations will come and bow before you, offering praise to your holy name.
All praise be to you, O God, because you alone are God. Amen.