Weds 8 March - Psalm 67
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us –
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
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Meditation on Psalm 67
If ever there was a time when we needed to be lifted up from what John Bunyan called in Pilgrim’s Progress ‘The slough of Despond’ it is now. As I write this the television and radio are overflowing with the situation in Ukraine. Having friends in Ukraine and family in Moscow and in two former Russian states in Central Asia focuses the mind and the prayers.
This short psalm helps us to focus on God – where better place to stay and meditate?
- THE BLESSINGS OF GOD Verses 1-2
How God loves to bless His people – you and me.
He is gracious. What does that mean?
One writer puts it like this: ‘God sees you as a treasure; He delights in you, regardless of your status or behaviour.’
His grace is that free and unmerited favour of God towards us.
He longs to bless us. When Paul wrote to the Galatians he summed up God’s blessing in Chapter 3:13-14: ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.’
How blessed we are.
But there’s more! The blessing of God means that He ‘makes His face to shine upon us.’ This takes us back to the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:24-26
Boice puts it like this: ‘A shining face is the opposite of an angry or scowling face turned toward someone. This is the opposite of a face turned away in indifference or disgust. A shining face implies favour and it implies the friendliness of warm personal relationships too.’
And there is a glorious outcome from God’s blessing – cf verse 2.
This is the mission of God and we are part of that in getting the message around the world.
- God’s ways are the best ways
- God’s salvation is for all nations
O God, may your salvation come to the nations today.
Some translations have the word ‘Selah’ at the end of verse 2. The most accurate translation of this Hebrew word is ‘pause and consider’.
Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.’
- LET’S PRAY Verses 3-5
The psalmist longs that God’s Name and God’s glory will be seen and experienced around the earth.
His prayer becomes more intense from the start. ‘May the peoples praise you, God.’ His vision is then broadened – ‘May ALL the peoples praise you, God.’
The psalmist longs that the nations – all 195 of them - will be glad and sing for joy. This is one of the many missionary prayers.
Can the people of Ukraine praise God?
Can the people of Russia praise God?
Can the nations who are opening their borders to the refugees praise God?
Can we praise God?
We have to believe that God is in control? That’s why we pray to Him because ‘He rules the people with equity (righteously) and guides the nations of the earth.’
Yes, it hurts…it’s painful but we must trust God and pray for the nations.
C.S. Lewis wrote that famous paragraph about pain.
‘Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’
One day, all the nations will bow down; all the peoples will bow down.
- Philippians 2:10 ‘at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and EVERY tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.’
- A FINAL BLESSING Verses 6-7
God brings the natural harvest. Read Psalm 65:9-13.
God brings the spiritual harvest. We are part of that when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.
God wants to bless ‘all the ends of the earth’.
Why, then, is there all this suffering and pain around the world? The simple answer is because of man’s sin and rebellion against God. Read Ephesians 2:1-3 which gives us a picture of who we really are.
Then read Ephesians 2:4-5 –’But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions – it is by grace we are saved…’
Come back to our psalm – verses 6-7: ‘God, our God blesses us. May God bless us still.’
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