Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117)
This hymn was sung by Israel as a reminder that their position and purpose was to be a light for the Gentiles…that one day all the nations would praise the Lord!
What a privilege to live to see the initial fulfillment of this Psalm – as people from all nations know and sing of his steadfast love. Together we form the worldwide church, a people gathered for the praise of His glory!
How beautiful that Peter, the Jewish fisherman who initially balked at entering a Gentile’s home, is writing to Gentile Christians and ascribing to the church all that was intended for Israel…
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:8-10).
This is God’s mystery revealed in the last days – that the death of one righteous man has brought life to many! For this is the way of the Kingdom – suffering leads to life. If Christ learned obedience from the things he suffered, how much more will we??!!
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. […] He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2:21; 24-25).
If you are suffering, you are walking in the footsteps of Christ! God is using our trials to refine us into the image of His Son. Take comfort that He is the Overseer of your soul!