Nations, ethnicity, and national leaders are prominent themes in the Old Testament, and God frequently demonstrated His favor by blessing or judging nations according to their faithfulness to Him. However, we read in the New Testament that God does not limit who may be His people according to their ethnicity and national identities (Gal. 3:26–28; Rom. 3:29–30). Indeed, the gospel is global in scope, transcending all national boundaries (Matt. 28:18–20; John 3:14–18; Rom. 10:8–13). But if this is true, then does God still care about nations today?
Nations play a crucial role in God’s redemptive purposes. According to Acts 17:24–27, nations are designed to draw people back to God. He foiled mankind’s plans to build the Tower of Babel by confusing the language and dividing them into nations in the hope that people would stop rebelling against Him (Gen. 11:1–9; Deut. 32:8). And this remains God’s purpose for nations today.
God continues to use national concerns, boundaries, leaders, and governments to draw people back to Himself. In the 1960’s and 70’s the Jesus Movement was birthed during a time of social unrest related to pervasive race issues, cultural rebellion, and the Vietnam war. Similarly, the Business Men’s Prayer Revival 120 years earlier was a response, in part, to a stock market crash. And people around the world have become curious over the last 200 years about America’s Christian foundation because of our nation’s prosperity, which is rooted in our nation’s Judaeo-Christian ethic.
Even when God has succeeded in drawing mankind back to Himself, nations will continue to play an important role in God’s long-term redemptive plan. God is working to redeem the nations so that they can participate in His eternal Kingdom. The day is coming when all nations will serve Him (Isa. 2:3–4). No longer will one nation be in conflict with another nation (Isa. 2:4; Rev. 22:1–3); instead, their diversity will be celebrated (Rev. 21:23–26).
God is presently using nations to accomplish His will, and He has a purpose for nations in the future. He is using nations to draw people back to Himself, and He is actively striving to redeem nations so that they may have a place in His glorious Kingdom. As such, God is deeply concerned about nations today, and He continues to evaluate nations according to their faithfulness to Him.