Key Verse: “O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.”
ONE OF THE WAYS IN which we can praise God’s greatness is to remember, and claim as our own, his loving promise to bless all the families of the earth. This promise was first expressed to Abraham. In its fullness, God gave it because of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Gen. 22:16-18) This experience illustrated God’s love in offering his son, Jesus, as a ransom sacrifice on behalf of the entire human family. (John 3:16,17) God’s promise to Abraham was in the form of a sworn covenant. Paul states: “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.”—Heb. 6:13
The understanding of God’s promise to bless all the families of the earth has largely been hidden throughout the ages. Initially, the Israelites believed the promise was for them alone. After their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, God spoke to Moses saying, “Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exod. 19:3-6) The people’s response was “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.”—vs. 8
Israel praised God for their favored position, thinking it was to be a perpetual blessing. However, their special standing before God was eventually removed due to disobedience. “Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1,2) When Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah, he declared, “your house is left unto you desolate.”—Matt. 23:38
Having removed his special favor from Israel, God turned to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46) However, without the Holy Spirit to shed light upon God’s plan to bless all the families of the earth, Christianity has largely restricted the blessings of that promise to just themselves. The false teaching that salvation is only available in this lifetime has forced them to fear that those who are not saved now will go into the eternal flames of hell rather than to heaven. This God-dishonoring doctrine has hidden the beauty of God’s promise to bless all who have ever lived.
The Apostle Paul declares that the knowledge of God’s promises has been hidden even from the Gentiles, as a whole, because he has not yet poured out his Holy Spirit of understanding upon them. (I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:9; 3:3,4,9) The beauty and full scope of God’s promise has only been recognized by those who are spirit begotten. “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:26,27) We are thankful that the day is fast approaching when songs of praise will be offered to the Lord by all mankind—Jews and Gentiles—for his greatness.