“May God be gracious to us and bless us and 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! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”
Psalm 67:1-7 ESV
It is thought that this psalm was sung by the Israelites during the Feast of Tabernacles where they would remember how God had mightily rescued them out of Egypt. The first verse has elements of the benediction that God requested to be spoken by the high priest in Numbers 6:24-26 –
‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’
This is covenant language, and points back to Genesis 12:1-3 where God promised Abraham offspring, land and blessing, but also that all the peoples and nations of the earth would be blessed through his offspring. The psalmist gives us the reason behind receiving this blessing from God – so “that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations”. God blessed and gave favour to Israel so that His Name may be praised and His saving power known throughout the whole world.
Even though this is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus’s incarnation, death and resurrection being a blessing to all people and nations, it is also the blessing of the Good News of Jesus, and we have a part to play in this. However, with so many false teachers preaching a prosperity gospel, we might be fooled into thinking that God’s Name and saving power may be proclaimed throughout the earth when we are blessed by Him in a material and wordly sense. This is not the case and simply not the way God works.
It is only the blessing of the humble and mighty Gospel of Christ Crucified (nothing more and nothing less) working in the lives of believers, even more so when they are NOT materially blessed, that proclaims God’s Name and His saving power to all nations, so that no glory may come to us.
Questions for reflection: Why do you desire blessing and favour from God? How does the world define being blessed? How does Jesus define blessedness in Matthew 5:3-12?