Posted October 10, 2019
 May God be gracious to us and bless usand make his face to shine upon us, Selah that your way may be known on earth,your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God;let all the peoples praise you!
We live in a day and age where the word “blessed” means so many things to different people. On social media, #blessed is simply an opportunity to humble brag in front of a digital audience. It’s often tied to selfies, new toys you want others to know you have, or beautiful locations you want everyone else to know you’re in that they’re not in. But how does the Bible see blessing? We get a glimpse of what’s behind the word in Psalm 67:1-3.
In verse 1, the psalmist takes a well known blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 (called the “Aaronic blessing”) and elaborates on the trajectory that blessing is intended to take in our lives. His three-fold prayer is a request for grace, blessing, and light. He asks God’s posture toward His people to be marked by a graciousness. This is a reminder that we always begin with grace with God! We don’t earn God’s blessings but rather God blesses precisely because He’s gracious… As a part of this blessing, His face is shining upon the one crying out to Him. It’s an indication of the very grace and blessing being asked for! It’s amazing when we realize God’s face toward us isn’t one of disgust, anger, or turning away, but rather one of joy, pleasure, and shining. What a gift.
The psalmist could have stopped with verse 1, but he doesn’t. He takes the famous Aaronic blessing but adds what is known as a “purpose clause” in verse 2 indicated by the word “that." For what purpose does God show us grace, and bless us, and shine upon us? God’s desire in blessing us is so that His way would be known on the earth and his saving power among all nations. God’s blessing was intended to flow into his people but also flow out of them to others. God’s blessing is never a spiritual cul-de-sac, but rather functions an on-ramp to a highway of global blessing. If you’re familiar with the storyline of the Bible, you will hear hints of God’s blessing to Abraham from Genesis 12:1-3. God blessed Abraham because He wanted to bless the world through him. He wanted His ways known and His saving power to be experienced not by one nation, but by all nations. Instead of lulling us to sleep, God’s blessings are intended to sound the trumpet and wake us from our slumber because we so desire others to join us! Far from a cute lullaby, this psalm is actually a missional and evangelistic battlecry…
Verse 3 gives us a picture of the culmination of this outward movement of God’s blessing. It doesn’t end with God blessing the nations, but rather we find the nations blessing God! As nations taste and see how good God really is, they can’t help but respond in worship and praise and blessing. No peoples are to be excluded from this song of praise! In the New Testament, we see the unfolding of these verses in a fuller way… Ultimately Jesus Himself is the perfect fulfillment of the grace, the blessing, and the light that Psalm 67 is crying out for! It is the good news of what He’s done that is declared to the world… It’s this eternal gospel being proclaimed on earth to every nation and tribe and language and people (Revelation 14:6). Jesus is the ultimate blessing of God to His people! May this good news be known by His people and may His people make Him known.
Song by Will Duvall (from Immanuel Nashville).
Artwork by Jonathan David Lindsey.
Devotional by Joel Limpic.