He was captive to the thought that the greatness and salvation of God should be extended to the nations. He was determined that the nations be called to worship the one true God through the gift of His Son, Jesus. He wrote of praying prayers such as this: “I covenanted with my Father that He would do either of two things- either glorify Himself to the utmost in me, or slay me. By His grace I shall not have His second best” (Daniel Akin, Five Who Changed the World, 88).
He knew that his desire for God to be glorified in his life would best be lived out by telling the nations of God’s greatness. Writing a letter to his family, he said, “Remember you are immortal until your work is done. But don’t let the sands of time get into the eyes of your vision to reach those who still sit in darkness. They simply must hear” (Five Who Changed, 93). Not allowing the sands of time to blur his vision, he went to South America and to the country of Ecuador. He had heard of the Huaorani Indians, also know as the Auca Indians. They had never heard of Jesus, but he was willing to live his life so that they would hear. He was willing to give his life so that they would hear.
That was in the mid-1950s. Many scores of others have never heard of Jesus. Yet, God has a heart for the nations, as is evidenced in Psalm 96. The Psalmist insists, “Sing to the Lord a new Song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth. . . . Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” (Ps 96:1, 3).
The word “peoples” or “nations” is used throughout this psalm. There is an estimate of 11,629 people groups in the world (www.joshuaproject.net). People groups (PGs) can be defined in a basic way as those of the same language and common identity. By identity is meant common history, customs, family and clan identities (www.peoplegroups.org). Of these PGs, over 7,000 have less than 2% of Christian presence among them, which represents over 4.3 billion people.
Let me put it in this light: nearly 60% (4.3 billion people of the world’s 7.5 billion population) of the world’s population has very little to no Christian witness. Essentially, six out of every ten people in the world have little to no access to the gospel. We know that Scripture teaches us that the Lord will save people from every tongue, tribe, people and nation (Rev 5:9). In other words, the Lord will save individuals from every people group. How will this be brought about? The answer: When our passion for God burns hot and bright, then our desire to make Him known among the nations/peoples of the world will extend globally.
It will take multiple hearts like that of Jim Elliot in the 1950s to see Psalm 96 lived out today. The nations are called to worship the one true God, and we are the ones to call them to do so. So, let’s call the nations to sing.