Blessed to Be a Blessing: Psalm 67

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Today’s Sunday Psalms entry is written by Timothy Tennent.

Psalm 67 (NIV)

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Sing this psalm with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the resource here.

CONSIDER THIS

Psalm 67 opens by setting the famous Aaronic blessing into an act of worship. The Aaronic blessing is, perhaps, one of the most famous prayers in the Old Testament: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26). Psalm 67 recalls this prayer with its opening words: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us” (v. 1). But it is in Psalm 67 that we discover the reason that God is gracious to us, and blesses us, and turns his face toward us. God blesses us so that we might be a blessing to the world: “that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations” (v. 2). This verse of the psalm recalls the covenantal blessing to Abraham, which promises that in his seed all nations would be blessed.

It is here in Psalm 67 that these two great streams meet: God’s covenantal blessing to us (Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6) and his promise to bless all nations (Abrahamic promise in Genesis 12). It is even more amazing that these two great streams meet in an act of worship. It is only in worship that we can fully recognize who we are as the blessed ones and what it means for us to be blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are blessed so that those who have not yet experienced the blessings of God might know him and join in the growing circle of praise to him. Indeed, the psalm ends with the great missional purpose of all praise: “God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him” (v. 7).

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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