TODAY’S READING: Psalm 6, 8–10, 14, 16, 19, 21
In the Psalms, there are more references to the nations than there are actual psalms. George Peters wrote: “It is a profound fact that ‘the hymn of praise is missionary preaching par excellence’ especially when we realize that such missionary preaching is supported in the Psalms by more than 175 references of a universalistic note relating to the nations of the world. Many of them bring hope of salvation to the nations… Indeed the Psalter is one of the greatest missionary books in the world.” The great song book of the people of God has stanzas in every hymn about the nations and God’s glory in all the earth. It’s not a bad rule of thumb for every song we sing in worship to include a stanza on God’s heart for the nations.
Almost every psalm has some reference to God’s activity among the nations. It may be blessing, it may be wooing, it may be conquest, or it may be judgment, but over and over again the psalms underline the thesis that God is a missionary God who blesses His missionary people to bring all the peoples of earth to the blessings of their God. Here are some examples drawn from our selected psalms today:
Psalm 6:10 – Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled.
Psalms 8:1, 9 – O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Psalms 9:5 – You have rebuked the nations.
Psalm 9:8 – He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
Psalm 9:11 – Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.
Psalm 9:17 – The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 9:19–20 – Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.
Psalms 10:16 – The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land.
Psalms 14:2 – The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
Psalm 14:7 – O, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.
Psalms 16:2–3 – “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.” As for the saints who are on the earth, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
Psalms 19:1–3 – The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech… There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
Psalms 21:8, 10 – Your hand will find all Your enemies… Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth, and their descendants from among the sons of men.
In Psalm 6, David reminds us that God will be glorified among the nations regardless of their response. God is just as glorified when nations refuse His love and face His wrath as when they accept His mercy and receive His joy. In Psalm 9, we are reminded that God’s judgments will equally apply to all the peoples of earth. God intends to make very clear His magnificence in all the earth, thus the sobriety and urgency of the missionary mandate to go into all the world and urge the nations to flee the wrath to come. In Psalm 10, we are reminded that Jesus shall rule “where’er the sun doth his successive journeys run” and for all time. In Psalm 14, we are encouraged that God will bring His elect out of every nation and send His elect from Zion into all the world to every people as agents of salvation. In Psalm 16, we are exhorted to join in with God’s love for all His global beloved. In Psalm 19, we are challenged that if the glory of God is so clearly expressed in the heavens, should He not be more glorified by the crown of His creation—by men and women of every race? And in Psalm 21, we are sobered: God will destroy all those who rebel against His rule and reject His mercy.
Truly, the book of the Psalms resounds with God’s plan and passion for every people group to know, praise, and glorify Him. Surely, the very least we can do is sing about His glory in all nations every time we open our mouths to praise.
 George Peters. A Biblical Theology of Missions. Chicago: Moody, 1972. 115–116.
 From the hymn “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun” by Isaac Watts.