Likewise, when a foreigner who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name’s sake, for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand and of your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, here in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you as do your people, Israel, that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.
-1 Kings 8:41–43
So these verses come in the middle of Solomon’s dedication of the temple, and it is so important to see in this critical moment in the history of God’s people, as this temple is now built, as a place where God’s glory will dwell in the middle of his people, Israel, it was never about God’s glory being made known just among the people of Israel. It was always about God’s glory being made known among all the peoples of the earth. This is a theme we see from cover to cover in the Bible. God desires, has designed all people in all people groups in all the nations of the earth and all the ethnic groups of the world to enjoy and exalt him in all of his glory, which is why Solomon prays this. The purpose of God from beginning to end in the Bible and ultimately the purpose of God in history is to bring people from all nations, tribes, and tongues to worship God.
The purpose of God from beginning to end in the Bible and ultimately the purpose of God in history is to bring people from all nations, tribes, and tongues to worship God.
And if we’re not careful, we will miss this. In fact, I would argue that we have missed this. There are over 3 billion people in the world today and over 7,000 distinct people groups, ethnic groups that are considered unreached by the gospel. They have not seen or heard about the glory of God in the face of Jesus. And notice the key distinction between how God revealed his glory in the Old Testament here in I Kings chapter eight and how God would reveal his glory in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, it was a place, a temple where people from all the nations could come and behold the glory of God. But when you get to the New Testament, Jesus dies on the cross for our sins, rises from the grave, all who turn and trust in him as Savior and Lord have his Holy Spirit dwelling in us and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
And the picture is not people from all nations going to a physical place. Instead, it’s the temples of the Holy Spirit, followers of Jesus, going where? To all nations, to make disciples of all nations, to proclaim the gospel among all nations. And there’s 3 billion people in the world right now. And over 7,000 people groups who have not seen or heard about the glory of God in the face of Jesus, and God has called you and me as temples of his Holy Spirit to carry that message to them.
This is why we pray all the time on this podcast for the spread of the gospel to unreached people. Why? Because this is the purpose for which we’re on this planet, you and I and our lives and our families and our churches. We have been given the gospel of God, the spirit of God for the spread of this gospel and his glory to all the peoples of the earth, that all the peoples of the earth, I Kings chapter eight, may know and fear Jesus. And so we pray, God, help us, help us in our lives and our families and our churches to carry out the purpose for which you have placed us here in this earth, for which you have saved us.
We praise you for your salvation. We praise you that we have seen and we know and we enjoy your glory in the face of Jesus, that we have been saved by the gospel of your grace. We pray, God, that this gospel would not stop with us, that it would spread through us, right around us, God, that more and more people, this week, God help us to share the gospel so that more and more people this week might come to know your grace and see your glory and know and enjoy you. And God, we pray that you would help us not to stop, to keep giving and praying and going until all the peoples of the earth, know and fear your name, until the Mussali of Pakistan and Afghanistan, until they know and receive the gospel, until they see your glory in the face of Jesus. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel, to the Mussali people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. And God, we pray that you would use our lives and our families and our churches toward that end for the Mussali people and for 7,000 other people groups, that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you.
God help us not to miss the point of why you have blessed us for the spread of your glory among all the nations. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
And let me just add, as I do periodically on this podcast, this is what Radical exists for. So radical.net, we exist to equip the church to be on mission, to see our lives and our families and our churches in the context of mission, to be a part of what God is doing on the front lines of unreached people groups through urgentneeds.org. So I would just encourage you, as you ponder I Kings chapter eight and pray according to it, consider what this means for your life. How are you living to make the glory of Jesus known among the nations? How are you praying, giving, going right where you live and wherever God may lead you toward that end. And radical.net, urgentneeds.org are there to help equip you, me, us as the church to be on a mission.