Big Prayer to a Big God

Enlarge Thy kingdom, O God, and deliver the world from the dominion and tyranny of Satan. Hasten the time, which Thy Spirit hath foretold, when all nations, Whom Thou has made, shall worship Thee, and glorify Thy Name. Bless the good endeavors of those who strive to propagate the Truth, and prepare the hearts of all men to receive it; to the honour of Thy holy Name. Amen.

—Bishop Wilson, AD 1663

Worship & Culture 13

We often think that the diversity of languages and cultures and peoples and political states is a hindrance to world evangelization—the spread of Christ’s glory. That’s not the way God sees it. God is more concerned about the dangers of human uniformity than he is about human diversity. We humans are far too evil to be allowed to unite in one language or one government. The gospel of the glory of Christ spreads better and flourishes more because of 6,500 languages, not just in spite of it.

A great part of the glory of the gospel is that it is not provincial. It is not a tribal religion. It breaks into every language and every people. If there were no diversity of languages, if the spectacular sin of Babel had not happened with its judgment, the global glory of the gospel of Christ would not shine as beautifully as it does in the prism of thousands of languages.

And finally, the praise that Jesus receives from all the languages is more beautiful, because of its diversity, than it would have been if there were only one language and one people to sing. “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, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

It was the spectacular sin on the plains of Shinar that gave rise to the multiplying of languages that ends in the most glorious praise to Christ from every language on earth. Praise the Lord, O Bethlehem, let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

—John Piper, “The Pride of Babel and the Praise of Christ” (message)

The True God

The difference between the true God and the gods of the nations is that the true God carries and the other gods must be carried. God serves, they must be served. God glorifies His might by showing mercy. They glorify theirs by gathering slaves. So the vision of God as one whose passion for His glory moves Him to mercy impels missions because He is utterly unique among all the gods.

—John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 56

“For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” (Psalm 96:5)

Missions Verses for “Come Thou Fount”

Come, Messiah, King of glory,
Tune this world to sing Thy praise.
Ancient mercies, new each morning,
Call all nations to Thy grace.
May each culture and each language
Bring its richness to Thy throne.
In the chorus of creation
We are Thine and Thine alone.
Finish then Thy new creation,
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee:
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Nations cast their crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

–verse 1, author unknown; verse 2 adapted from “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” by Charles Wesley