Wednesday Word: ‘God’s Heart for the Nations’ (Genesis-Revelation)


On Sunday nights, my church is watching David Platt’s ‘Counter-Culture’ series. On Sunday mornings, we are going through the new chronlogical study by ‘The Gospel Project.’ We are enjoying them both. Yesterday, while watching Platt’s session on racial reconciliation, I was struck by the fact that the two were making the same points from different ends of the Bible. Platt was preaching from Revelation and ‘The Gospel Project’ is currently working through Genesis.

What was the point that both were making? The story of redemption is a story about God’s heart for the nations. From the first book to the last, God is accomplishing His purpose of saving a people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. Platt began at the end, namely John’s vision of the nations worshipping the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5). The chronological study begins with Genesis and God’s promise to bless all the families of the earth through the offspring of Abraham (Gen. 12). One is a promise and the other a fulfillment. One sets the stage and the other the final act. When you look at this theme and how it runs through the entire story-line of Scripture, you can begin to catch a glimpse of the glory of our God’s plan for redeeming His people. Consider these words:

God’s initial promise to Abraham:

1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3

His promise to Isaac, Abraham’s son:

4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” – Genesis 26:4-5

His promise to Jacob, Isaac’s son:

13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. – Genesis 28:13-14

God’s plan to bless the nations through the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), is clear in the book of Genesis. And we see this redemptive thread throughout the Old Testament. The inclusion of Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabite bear witness to it (both in the lineage of Jesus). The psalmist rejoices in it: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you” (Psalm 67:4-5). Isaiah prophesies about the coming Servant: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I (The Lord) will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). These all bear witness to God’s heart for the nations.

And how is that promise to Abraham fulfilled? All the families of the earth are blessed through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, the Lamb who has conquered. And when will we see that ultimately fulfilled? We will see it when we gather around the throne:

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:9-10

The promise made to Abraham in Genesis will be fulfilled at the end of the age, as foretold by John in Revelation. All because of the Lamb that was slain. From cover to cover, beginning to end, we see the glory of His story.

And what should we do with this?

  1. Be amazed at the history of redemption, as told in every book of the Bible (one of the goals of ‘The Gospel Project’ chronological study)
  2. Be committed to fight for racial reconciliation (the point that Platt was making in his ‘Counter-Culture’ series)
  3. Be faithful in sharing this good news with all (because the Lamb who was slain is worthy!)

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