Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
The "heathen" of the Old Testament match the "Gentiles" of the New Testament. "Gentiles," as our Lord used the term, means "those who do not know of God as the Father in heaven." And "heathen" means "those who do not know God as the One, the Spiritual, and the Holy." But in referring such an expression as this to missions, we are using for our purpose the language, not precisely discerning the psalmist's meaning. In desiring that God's glory should be declared among the heathen, the returned exile did not think of, or wish for, the conversion of the heathen to the faith and service of Jehovah. He only wanted everybody to know of his new liberty and dignity, and of the great things his God was doing for him. It was as if Englishmen went everywhere to tell what great things God had done, and was doing, for England. Active effort to convert the world to Judaism has never been made, and is not being made now. The truly missionary idea is introduced by Christianity. There is a sense in which the exclusiveness of the Jews was broken down by the Captivity. Jews were then scattered over the earth; but they were only silent missionaries wherever they went. They witnessed for Jehovah by what they were, rather than by what they said. Wherever they went they found a sort of belief in one God, clouded over by an active belief in many gods. This is the characteristic of all heathenism; and we too readily miss seeing the idea of one supreme God, which is really the root religious idea of man everywhere; the idea to which the higher revelation makes its appeal. The law of Christian missions, and missions in all ages, is this - If any man has a higher and better view of God than his neighbour, he is bound to tell it to his neighbour.
I. THE JEW HAD A BETTER VIEW OF GOD THAN HIS NEIGHBOURS. Take especially the Jew of the Restoration, to whom the primary truths concerning God seemed as if freshly revealed. He knew of three truths that are fundamental to right conceptions of God.
1. The unity of God.
2. The spirituality of God.
3. The holiness of God.
Show that these were higher views of God than were entertained in either Babylon or among the neighbouring Samaritans, Ammonites, etc. What responsibility, then, rested on the Jew, specially to show that good doctrine bears good fruit?
II. THE CHRISTIAN HAS A BETTER VIEW OF GOD THAN HIS NEIGHBOURS. He knows God in the face of Jesus, through the Sonship of Jesus as the Father, as the Forgiver of sin, and as the Forgiver on the basis of one ever-acceptable sacrifice for sin. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.