And again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” Rom. 15:10-11 (NAS)
Well, we return to our study of Old Testament quotes found in the New Testament.
Once more, we also return to the inspired epistle to the Roman church to mine the divine record of Scripture for more instruction that produces perseverance, encouragement and hope. (Rom. 15:4) Isn’t it truly amazing, brethren, what the word of God can produce in His people? Therein lies the importance of having a good handle and full understanding of both the Old and New Testaments! Rightly dividing the word of truth helps us to perceive not only who Jesus Christ is, but who we have been made to be as His people, those that are “in Christ.”
Our text today contains two Old Testament passages quoted by the apostle Paul through the pen of Tertius. In Romans 15:10, the Spirit moves Paul to quote from the song of Moses as recorded in Deut. 32:43, “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people.” (NAS) In verse eleven, Paul quotes from the shortest Psalm in the book of Psalms, chapter 117:1, “Praise the LORD, all nations; laud Him, all peoples!”
In context of Deuteronomy 32, Moses speaks of the past history of Israel as God’s chosen and uses the opportunity as a teaching moment. Jacob had been delivered from bondage and become His inheritance. Yet Moses prophesied of their coming apostasy and rejection of the LORD, His judgment upon the rebellious Old Covenant people which would culminate in the deliverance of His faithful remnant from among the Jews along with those that the LORD was going to bring in from among the nations. This is an obvious prophesy of the church. Pagan nations and people once blinded by the god of this world would now recognize that there is one true God, the One Who can “put to death and give life” (Deut. 32:39). They would hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, the history of the great I Am and discern the end of all who had previously fought against Him. These would recognize that He has said “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them.” (Deut. 32:35 NAS) People would have opportunity to understand that you are of one of two camps according to “The Rock”. Either you are of His people, or of His adversaries. Upon His adversaries comes the promised vengeance and retribution. Upon His people comes vindication, compassion and atoning.
Psalm 117, though succinct, is clearly a forward looking prophecy of the Messianic kingdom of Christ. This Psalm agrees in principle with the tenor of Moses’ statements as contained in Deuteronomy 32:28-43. How will the LORD receive the praise of the nations and all the peoples unless they too have first been given opportunity to move from adversary to adopted children, from wrath to mercy? The psalmist in verse two states: “For His lovingkindness (i. e. merciful kindness) is great towards us, and the truth (faithfulness) of the LORD is everlasting.”
As a side note, both of these passages demonstrate further proof that the Bible is the word of God. If the Scripture was edited by the Jews to cast a more favorable light upon them as the chosen and sole people of God as its critics claim, why are these passages still in there?
Among God’s enduring and everlasting truths to be expounded upon and fully developed in the New Testament letters were: that all barriers would be broken down between Jew and Gentile, and that peace between God and all peoples would come through Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:14) allowing all the nations the opportunity to praise Him and rejoice in Him. That’s why the New Testament admonishes us to be diligent about His calling and choosing of us through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:10, 2 Thes. 2:14) not forgetting our purification from our former sins. In so doing, we will recognize we once were sons of disobedience, “and by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Eph. 2:3b) But now, we in Christ, having received mercy, we’ve become vessels of rejoicing and praise, properly appraising what we have been delivered from-God’s vengeance through the atoning, adopting blood of Jesus Christ. So, are you rejoicing, O His people? Are you lauding and praising Him, recognizing that it is indeed the “merciful kindness” of God that saved us?