Are you watching the Olympics? What goes through your mind as you watch different nationalities ... the bravado of the Australians, the precision of the Japanese, the steely determination of the Germans, the hospitality of the Canadians? People have a lot of impressions about people from my birth country, the USA ... some good and some not so good.
Or are you thinking about the outfits (can we resist?) chosen by each nation? Jeans for American snowboarders, those curling pants, strings and things for skater Johnny Weir, or maple leaf mittens ... where CAN I get a pair of those!?!?!
As I watch the winter Olympics my mind always returns to the days when I was inspired to get my Dorothy Hamel haircut and buy my praying mantis style ski goggles for the youth group winter retreat. It was the closest I was meant to get to Olympic glory ....
As the nations gather I can't help but think of when they came to be and what their future is. The "nations" were first separated to different lands with their own languages and family groups in Genesis 10:5 as Noah's 3 sons were sent to fill the earth.
Throughout Psalms God says He will be exalted among the nations (Psalm 46:10), He will reign over the nations (Psalm 47:8), His eyes keep watch over the nations (Psalm 66:7), and the nations WILL be glad and sing for joy one day (Psalm 67:4). Not just over the Olympics, but over the Creator of all things.
In about a week the nations will leave Vancouver and return to life as usual; it always feels sad. I think that's because we long for the peace of the nations, but God assures us:
All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.
That's going to be more amazing than any opening or closing ceremony. In anticipation of that day, we are challenged to:
Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
Before we can experience peace among the nations the last book of the Bible, Revelation, tells us the nations will be deceived (Rev. 20:8). The nations will have to experience pain in order to realize that man really never was the ultimate power on earth, despite the amazing accomplishments God's image bearers achieve while we walk this world.
Ultimately, real GOLD awaits the nations. Revelation 21:24 says the nations will walk by the light of God's glory when the earth and heaven are made new. I will never get a gold medal in this life, but I can't wait for the gold that awaits us in God's presence.
The last mention of the nations in God's Word? There will be a tree of life in the New Jerusalem that is for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).
So as we watch the parade of people groups and listen to the potpourri of languages, let's be reminded to tell the nations about God's glory and to look forward to the day when the nations will worship God and live in His light. Medal stand .... here we come!
Come back this weekend for 10 Tips for Nurturing a Love of the Nations.