As Americans, we all speak English and most of us do not travel beyond our borders. So the need to understand people of different nationalities, for me, was minimal… until the last few years when many immigrants came to Texas, where I live. Now my husband and I hear people speaking multiple languages on the streets and in the groceries. I realize that I cannot understand what they are saying. Each language has its own beauty and complexities, just like the people who speak them. The glory of God rests in every people group with their uniqueness…how they dress, fix their hair, dance, sing, tell stories, celebrate holidays…all reflecting their culture.
What does the Bible say about “people of every tongue”?
In the book of Revelation, God tells us there will be people of every kind in heaven, at His throne. They will be from every section of the globe and from every culture and people group. For decades, we have seen the mission field focus on reaching every region. The peoples of the earth have been separated into people groups and the term “ethne” has been grasped and understood in greater measure.
But in this same scripture, God told us He is also dividing and identifying people by their tongue, their native language. Since one of our main preoccupations in heaven will be worship, we will be speaking in every tongue. Get ready to listen to the praises of God’s children shouted in many languages. Although you and I may not understand them, God will receive the worship from each one.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count… from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
~ Revelation 7:9
When thinking of people groups, we often consider where a person lives and what his nationality may be, but the Lord says language is also vitally important. Even the languages now spoken by very few will be used in heaven. It excites me to think that a person who lives in a remote village in the jungle with a language of his own will have a chance to sing for eternity without having to learn English!
I want to include a special moment of worship of the Revelation Song done in 4 different languages by a church of a pastor friend. Just think what it will be like to worship with lovers of Jesus who speak one of nearly 7000 languages currently spoken on planet Earth.
I am writing this blog to give you a little insight into why I think praying for people of every tongue is important. Davar Partners wants to see every person have access to the scriptures in his language. How beautiful that no one needs to step into someone else’s culture to find and love Jesus!
Vicky Porterfield served as International Director of Prayer for Davar Partners International 2012-2016. Contact her at [email protected].