And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
This is one of the Old Testament passages that shows the outcome that God desired with Israel. It was nothing short of reaching the world for Him. He wanted Israel to be “the light to the gentiles” that He had always called her to be. And in this prophetic call to the exiles in Babylon, God promises to rebuild Jerusalem into such a large city that the population would overflow the walls. It is obvious that God wanted the worship of Himself in Jerusalem to be a magnet to the peoples of the earth.
What is interesting is that God fully expected that the gentiles would be drawn to Israel to worship Him, and would enter into the same type of exclusive relationship with Him that Israel enjoyed. This sheds light into Jesus’ harsh criticisms of the leaders of Israel in His day. They had so locked down Judaism that it was hard to truly proselytize because gentiles were hated and despised. Jesus threw open the doors again. By decrying and destroying the threat of Pharisaical prejudice, He was living the heart for the world that is truly God the Father’s will for everyone. Gentiles could come to God. God would make them His people just like the Jews were His people.
God’s heart has always been that the nations would rejoice at His goodness. And the church is also a people uniquely called by Him to the world. Jesus freed the good news by demanding that His followers take the message to the world. And we dare not create a church that is so tight in our sinfully exclusive personal or political views that we cannot reach the world around us. It starts with all people around us and the gospel is meant to make a global impact. That is why even today churches and individuals should support missions to all peoples of the earth. They need to hear the gospel. They need to be able to read God’s Word. They need to be discipled in the life of following Jesus. And they will know that God is in their midst and that they are His people.