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November 22, 2011 / Daniel

Psalm 98 (Salvation to Israel and the World)

In Psalm 98, the psalmist pictures salvation on a local scale and on a global scale.
2 The LORD has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

God brings salvation to Israel and he brings salvation to the world.  In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that it is through his family that all the world will be blessed.   God blessed Abraham so that his family could be a blessing to the whole world.   God’s plan to save this world revolves around Israel.   God calls Abraham to be a solution to Adam’s sin.  It was through Adam that sin and death entered into this world.  But it’s through Abraham and his family that God brings salvation to this world.

In the first 11 chapters of Genesis, Adam’s sin has a comprehensive impact on this world.  Sin grows  worse and worse.  So in Genesis 11 (the Tower of Babel), it becomes evident that nobody has a clue about God or who he is or what is he about.  People have totally forgotten about God.

But in Genesis 12, things change.  God calls Abraham and he makes a covenant with him.  He promises to give him a land, to make him a great nation, and to bless the whole world through him.  Abraham is a solution to the Adam problem (NT Wright).

But as the story unfolds, Abraham and his family become just as much a part of the problem as they are part of the solution.  And even though things start good, things turn real bad.  Israel, God’s chosen people, chose to become like the nations around them.  They live just like the Canaanites did.  They refuse to worship the one true God and turn to worship idols.  So just like God forced Adam and Eve to leave the Garden of Eden, he forces Israel to leave the Promise Land and head into exile.

But God did not forget his people.  He made promises to Abraham and his family.  He said that he would bless the world through Abraham and his family.   Verse 3 says, “He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.  All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”   God does not forget his promises.  If we read this verse in light of the NT, we know that it’s through Jesus that God keeps his promises to Israel and brings salvation to the nations.    When Jesus dies on the cross, he takes the curse of sin and death onto himself and he breaks the curse on the Easter morning when he rises from the dead.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

It’s through Jesus that God makes salvation known to Israel and to the world.  On the cross and through his resurrection, Jesus breaks the curse of sin and death.  He restores Israel and brings blessing to the nations.  Paul says in 2 Cor. 1:20, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ].”

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