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Psalm 67 sermon

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Psalm 67

Introduction:

Place in the Bible: Today we shall be examining a Psalm.

Purpose of Psalms: I don’t want to say too much about the Psalms as an introduction except they are much loved by generations of Christians over thousands of years. The Psalms were given to the people of God to enhance and aid our worship of God. When we read the Psalms we can identify with much of what that the Psalmist experienced. The anguish of the Psalmist often reflects our anguish and their delight in God inspires our delight and worship of God. The psalms are the songs of praise given by God to humanity, that we might worship and honour Him.

The psalm we shall examine today is Psalm 67 to see how God might inspire us to worship him.

Read Psalm:

Psalm 67

To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments.[a] A Psalm. A Song.

 

 1 God be merciful to us and bless us,
         And cause His face to shine upon us,  Selah  
 
2 That Your way may be known on earth,
         Your salvation among all nations.
         
 
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
         Let all the peoples praise You.
 
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
         For You shall judge the people righteously,
         And govern the nations on earth.  Selah  
         
 
5 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
         Let all the peoples praise You.
 
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
         God, our own God, shall bless us.
 
7 God shall bless us,
         And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Purpose of this Psalm

The purpose of this Psalm if I can give it to you in as few words as possible is this:

Know God

            Show God

                        Praise God

This Psalm is evangelistic insofar as the Psalmist desires to experience the favour of God, to demonstrate the favour of God to others and then have them praise God with him.

As we examine this psalm together we shall see these progressions emerge as well as stir ourselves up to worship God.

Let’s look at the Psalm together and see how God would speak to us, today.

Body:

Exegesis:

God be merciful to us and bless us,
         And cause His face to shine upon us,

That would have to be the heart cry of all those who love God. Our longing is to have the blessing of God which entails having His face shine upon us.

When I read that verse it causes in me a desire to know God more, to be His friend and creates a longing, to be, in His presence.

Imagine there is someone you look up to, someone you greatly admire, imagine your response if they take note of you. I remember when Guy Sebastian came to town. Teenage girls were screaming and calling for him. The God of the Universe is infinitely more wonderful and here the psalmist is calling for God to take note of him and bless him and to give him His (God’s) attention. What a desire.

This desire though does not begin in this psalm. God himself gives this desire to people.

God commanded that Aaron and the priests of Israel, to pronounce this blessing upon the people of Israel.

Numbers 6:23-27

Num 6:23  "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

Num 6:24  The LORD bless you and keep you;

Num 6:25  the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

Num 6:26  the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Num 6:27  "So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them."

 

 

This psalm reflects the desire for what God has promised to come to pass.

 

 

The idea developed in these verses includes the concepts of receiving the favour of God. These verses outline the longing for God and what it is to receive the blessing of God, specifically, that he might make his face to shine upon us and He might be gracious to us, His people. This incorporates ideas of receiving the attention of God, His care and wellbeing directed toward His people. This is what it is to receive the blessing of God.

Taken to its ultimate fulfilment, these verses incorporate the idea of seeing God face to face, which is the ultimate desire for those who love God.

Moses experienced the desire to see God face to face as described in Ex 33 (18-23) when he asked to see the face of God.

 

Paraphrase Story of Moses

Moses could not see the face of God but was only permitted to see the after-glow, the behind glory of God.

This is the desire of those who love God? Who here among us does not long to experience God’s favour and blessing, or desire to see the face of God? Likewise this was the hope and longing of the Psalmist, to experience the full favour of God which is the blessing of God.  Having “God, “be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us.”

 

When I speak of the hope in the bible it is not a forlorn hope of a child being, I hope I marry a prince or princess, but biblical hope speaks of a certainty, the things that God will do. In this instance the psalmist is expressing his desire for God with the expectation that God would indeed, listen and respond to his prayer.

For the people of God though what is the purpose of knowing God and his blessing?

Purpose: Show God

The purpose of knowing God, according to this psalm is to show God to those around us, that they might see the works and ways of God through how He relates to and treats us. The purpose, then, of experiencing God’s favour was for salvation of the nations. This refers to the gentiles, us and in that respect this is an evangelistic Psalm. The focus is outward from Israel upon Her neighbours as v.2 spells out. “That your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations”. The Psalmist ultimately desires the favour of God that the works of God may be evident upon the earth. As God dispenses His favour upon Israel the nations would see and take note. As the nations observe the blessing of God in and among His people, Israel and would and should revere God.

In the context of this psalm the blessing is in relation to the bounty of the harvest that God gives. What this psalm tells us is that the good works of God are tangible and observable. They are there, for those who would see them.

The Psalmist expresses his desire that others would see the ways of God and share in the salvation he has experienced. Believe it or not this was and is the desire of God. God desires that people might come to salvation and God would make for Himself, a people. That’s the whole purpose-plan of God. That’s what Genesis 12:1-3 is all about. When God called Abraham, God said, “And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. Genesis 12:1-3 is the promise of God that the descendants of Abraham would be a blessing to the families of the earth. Psalm 67 outlines a partial fulfilment of that promise. This was more than a promise because ultimately God had a plan in mind, Jesus Christ. The ultimate blessing of God to humanity is that Jesus would pay the price for the sin of those who would believe, and Revelation 13:8 tells us that it was from before the foundation of the world. God planned our blessing before the world was made.

The Psalmist’s desire to be blessed of God as an example to the nations is merely a pale reflection of the desire of God to bless the nations. This psalm shows us the heart of God and the mercy of God in desiring to save people.

Sometimes when we read the OT all we see is the law or commands of God. Do this; don’t do that, rules and restrictions.

When we read the NT we see the grace of God coming to save us through Jesus Christ. Here, in Psalm 67, we can clearly see the grace of God, his loving-kindness, in action, toward us. It’s as though everything God does is for our benefit. The love and mercy of God can be clearly seen in this psalm.

You can’t help but sing, “What a gracious and wonderful God we serve”. Its no wonder the psalms move us to praise God and I’m not even half way through the psalm yet.

You know the saying actions speak louder than words.

More than the intent of God, this psalm shows us the work and ways of God. v. 4b “For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth”.

To have God’s favour and salvation includes the rule of God. God will judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. No more will corrupt governments or judges determine the course of the nations but God will judge righteously according to what is right. Imagine no more genocide, racism, sexism, or any other ism. The strife in Africa solved, justice in Asia, accomplished. This seems to be a utopian ideal, a perfect society, and it is.

This is not the world we currently live in. For this reason I believe this psalm ultimately looks forward to a time when the nations will be completely under the righteous authority of God. There is a now, but not yet, aspect to this psalm. God’s favour is upon His people, and the individuals of the nations may observe this, and come to know God now. That’s why the bible says now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2), see the works and ways of God and come to Him.

v.7 also points the future element of this psalm. The Psalmist looks to the time when, following God’s blessing, all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. This is obviously not occurring on a national level today. In speaking of the fear of God the Psalmist is not talking about being scared of God but speaks of revering Him and holding Him in high esteem. But more than that the idea of fear of the Lord involves loving God and recognising God for who he is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

The blessing of God involves not just the intention of God but includes His action for us. God does not just talk about blessing us he does it.

In the meantime, the psalmist desires the favour of God, that God may be known and recognised in the earth.

When we know God by experiencing His favour we naturally show God to those around us through how he governs and rules our lives. The natural result of all this is praising God.

 

Result: Praise God

If you thought we could praise God for his intent to bless His people, we really have cause to praise Him for His actions upon the earth.

 

Verses 3-5 of this psalm show us the results of knowing God and his active blessing.

3      Let the peoples praise You, O God;

      Let all the peoples praise You.

4      Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!

      For You shall judge the people righteously,

      And govern the nations on earth. Selah

5      Let the peoples praise You, O God;

      Let all the peoples praise You.

Here we have corporate praise of God, not just individuals. And why do the peoples praise God? It is because as v.4 says “For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth”. The righteous rule of God causes people to rejoice. The observable work and ways of God causes people to rejoice.

So we see this psalm demonstrates in knowing God and showing God, praise results. What should our response be to this psalm? How might this psalm change the way we relate to God and others.

Application:*

  1. What is Our motivation for seeking God’s blessing

When we think of the blessing of God do we think of it for our benefit or for the benefit of others? Do we have a gimmie, gimmie, gimmie attitude, in relation to the blessings of God, or is our focus outward? When the Israelites sang this Psalm they expressed their desire that God would be received and worshipped in the world.

The desire for personal blessing only occupies the first and last verses of this psalm. The heart of this psalm is for the blessing of the nations for praise of God.

I hope this doesn’t sound too corny but it does us good to remember that we are blessed, to be a blessing. Are we? We show God to the world today. We are not blessed to hoard up riches for ourselves with no thought of others. We want people to see God in our personal and corporate lives. Do people see the wonders of God or the blessing of God when they look at the insert church name?

 

Another thing about this psalm is that it is full of praise for God. Praise, draws us out of ourselves and forces us to look heavenward. Praise lifts our vision upward to confess that God and God alone is the ultimate source of all our blessings. The focus is taken off ourselves and onto God. Our desire is whether others can see the ways of God in us and in our lives and wish to imitate us.

Conclusion.

God blesses His people for a purpose. God gives us His blessing that we might Know God for the purpose of Showing God and ultimately for the purpose of Praising God together with the ends of the earth.

Prayer

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