"Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
sing praise to the Lord" -- Psalm 68:32
"We cannot have too much singing to God" wrote Charles Spurgeon in comments on Psalm
68:32 for his Treasury of David book.
The Psalm 68:32 phrases about singing powerfully illustrate the priority God wants us to
give to world evangelism. Furthermore, the idea of people around the world bursting out into
songs of praise to God makes me think of those surprise "flash concerts" which choirs sometimes
give in public places (example).
As I envision a global "flash concert" of praise to the Lord, I start unpacking what Psalm
68:32 means for the cause of world missionary outreach:
Psalm 68:32 means that as we "make disciples" (Matthew 28:19-20) we need to include
invitations to join the worldwide choir!
I hear a clear call in Psalm 68:32 to people everywhere to acknowledge the one true God, the
God who reveals Himself to us through the pages of the Bible. This verse is not simply an
exhortation to be happy and to give praise to something or somebody. Psalm 68:32 calls all
people everywhere to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Perhaps the most compelling relationship Psalm 68:32 has with world evangelism is that it
evokes Paul's words to the Romans about those who have yet to hear the Gospel. Romans 10:14
asks: "How shall they believe in (or sing about!) Him of whom they have not
heard?" (more on Romans 10:14). The only possible answer
to that question is that if people from
every nation are going to join us in singing to God, they do need to know about Him. The
question we should be asking each other is: If there are people alive today with little or no access
to the Gospel, shouldn't we be doing something to get the Good News to them?
In Psalm 68:32 I also see a glimpse forward to how global Christianity has now become.
Those words were written a thousand years or more before the birth of Jesus. At that time, little
was known about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob outside of the Middle East. Now, the
People of God can be found all over the world. These twenty centuries of Christian missionary
outreach have been fruitful even though we still have a ways to go to make sure that people from
every tribe and tongue and "kingdom" hear the call to give praise to God.
Finally, scholars say Psalm 68 is possibly the oldest poem in the book of Psalms. If it is, then
the words of verse 32 signal that world missions may well have been, as Dave Davidson has said,
"on God's mind from the beginning."
May all people everywhere praise God. Let's make sure they all -- every one of them -- get
invited to join the choir!
-- Howard Culbertson
This 500-word mini-essay on a world missions Bible passage is one of more than three dozen
articles in the "Heart of God" series published in Engage, a
monthly online magazine produced by the Church of the Nazarene.