Recruiting for the choir

Missions: The heart of God

"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:

  1. Psalm 68:32 means that as we "make disciples" (Matthew 28:19-20) we need to include invitations to join the worldwide choir that will "sing praise to the Lord!"
  2. 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.
  3. Perhaps the most compelling relationship Psalm 68:32 has with world evangelism is that it calls to mind 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?
  4. In Psalm 68:32 I also see a glimpse forward looking at how global Christianity would have become by this time in world history. Those words were written a thousand years or more before the birth of Jesus. At that time, it seems that 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 work 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.
  5. 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!

Video: People from 50 countries sing "Amazing Grace"

Discussion questions

  1. In what ways could the words of Psalm 68:32 provide motivational fuel for the cause of world missionary outreach?
  2. How might the content of Psalm 68:32 complement that of Romans 10:14 in making the case for world evangelism?
  3. In what ways can it be said that Psalm 68:32 should call us to emphasize the making of Christ-followers in all people groups?
  4. Why can it be said that Psalm 68:32 reflects the idea that God's plan for world missions has been in place since the beginning?

    -- Howard Culbertson,

This 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. That series explores what the Bible says about missions.

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Bible messages relevant to Great Commission fulfillment     Doing missions well: Biographical sketches    Fiery global evangelism sayings     World missions slogans    Ideas shaping world mission outreach today     From Genesis to Revelation