May 12 (Daily reading: Psalms 65-67, 69-70) John Piper took the title of his book, “Let the Nations be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions,” from Psalm 67:4, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (NKJV). Piper began his book by writing, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exist because worship doesn’t” (p. 11). The psalm describes this worship: “May the peoples praise You, God; May all the peoples praise You” (67:5).
In Psalms 69-70, David cries out because of his misery: “I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God” (69:3). “I am afflicted and needy; Hurry to me, God! You are my help and my savior; LORD, do not delay” (70:5). But even in the depth of his despair, David knew that the answer could be found in worship, in praise: “Heaven and earth shall praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them” (69:34). “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and may those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘May God be exalted!’” (70:4). When we have God’s salvation, we will continually praise and exalt Him!
Piper’s premise that missions exist because worship doesn’t is seen in the psalmist’s words: “Wrongdoings prevail against me; as for our offenses, You forgive them. Blessed is the one You choose and allow to approach You” (65:2-4). What grace that God has allowed us to approach Him for salvation and spiritual healing! When we do the work of missions, people approach God, and their sins are forgiven. Then the ultimate goal of worship will be possible. Jesus talked about this: worship for the tax collector began with the words: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Lk. 18:13).
– Al Gary