Missiology Through Scripture – Psalm 47:8-9

“God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!” – Psalm 47:8-9

This is a psalm about God’s sovereign reign over all the earth. Every people group and nation are his. It is not only Israel, God’s elect, but the entire globe which falls under God’s dominion. This short psalm concludes with these verses proclaiming how God will rule from and through his chosen people. The worldly rulers, both evil and honorable, are in place because of God and are in power to exact his will. Christ, the true shield, protects the nations for himself; for his own glory.

Yahweh does not simply rule over those who acknowledge and esteem him. God is the Sovereign of those who worship him as well as those who do not know his name. Through his mercy and justice God has compassionately acted out his plan through the free will of devotees and the ignorant alike. John Frame said, “God is King, not only over Israel, but over all the nations, over all the earth. He governs the events of human history for his purposes.”[1] A person does know need to know the law of gravity to be governed by it. So too, God governs all.

How beautiful and freeing to know the past and the present, our homes and far-away lands, followers and detractors are governed by the all-loving, all-good Yahweh. The elect need not suffer the acts of despots, the rule of oppressors, or the policies of autocrats. God’s rule is inescapable and perfect. This is liberating knowledge for God’s missionaries and senders of missionaries. As we go out into the nations we live with the truth of our Savior. God is already in his throne over the nations. As he calls us into hostile or unreceptive peoples we echo his joy and grace with the knowledge of victory over the nations. We bring not fleeting triumph over the latest potentate, but an eternal, all-encompassing reign of freedom from sin.

 

[1] John M. Frame, No Other God: A Response to Open Theism (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001), 59.