Psalm 67:1-7 (ESV)

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

[1] May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

[2] that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.

[3] Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

[4] Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

[5] Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

[6] The earth has yielded its increase;

God, our God, shall bless us.

[7] God shall bless us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him!

The Psalm starts with a call for God to be gracious. As this Psalm was written to the choirmaster we can assume that it would be sung in services of worship by a choir. It is a cry for mercy. It is a beautiful thing to envision. A choir leading people in a cry for mercy from the great God. But, as is so true in so many of the Psalms, and in other places in the Scriptures, we are told why it is that we should dare to ask the sovereign Ruler of a vast creation to even consider punt little us. It is so that His way may be known on earth and His saving power among the nations. This gives rise to several thoughts:

1) The purpose behind the mercies of God does not begin or end with us. It is about Him. God shows mercy, first of all so that the world may see that He is a great, loving, merciful powerful God. This is right. It is not ego centric on God’s part for Him to do whatever He does for the sake of His name being known. It is a mercy that He allows us to know anything about Him at all. He is the best and greatest thing that can be known. There is nothing better for us than to know God. We want this incredible blessing to be experienced by others. Salvation does not demonstrate how valuable we are. It demonstrates how loving God is, how great His mercy is and how we are completely helpless to do anything to help ourselves.

2) God deserves to be held in awe and worshipped. To give something else the glory that only God deserves is a great wickedness.

3) We should want other people to know the great mercies of our God. How evil is it to have the greatest possible possession and enough of it to share with others and then greedily hang on to it for ourselves? A lack of concern for others to know our God may be an indication that we do not know Him ourselves. Love of neighbour certainly begins with a desire in our hearts for them to know him whose worth is unfathomable.

4) God has always had a heart for all of the peoples of the world. Verse 2 calls for God’s saving power to be known in the nations. It is a serious misunderstanding of the Scriptures to conclude that the Old Testament is about Israel only. The OT abounds with a message of salvation for all people, Jew and Gentile who come in faith. Consider the Book of Jonah and read Isaiah looking for the message in it to the Gentiles.

5) The Psalm ends with a confident comment that God shall bless us. How can we be so sure? Because He said so and He cannot lie. We can proclaim with confidence that salvation is promised and given and will be honoured. God shall bless us. Such truth does not engender rebellion and disobedience. It produces faithfulness and hope and communion with our God. What a God and what a Gospel.