2007-02-11 - Among All Nations
Psalm 67:1, 2 - "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations."
There are various ways people wish the Lord would bless them and make His face shine upon them. Most would like Him to bless them with a larger home, better job, winning the lottery, children who are striving to do good, or any number of things. When we think of the Lord blessing us and making His face to shine upon us it is not often that our first thought is that He would do so by establishing His glory in our lives, or in the world. One might wonder how God's glory in any manifestation is a blessing that outshines a bigger paycheck. It is common for us to think, "If we are going to talk about blessing, let us be at least a little practical."
Our focus is so quickly drawn to that which is temporal and physical. But what the Psalmist has in mind is a spiritual blessing that will make the Lord's glory and salvation known though out the world. It is not about things. The Lord is first gracious to His people in their hearts, in granting peace of conscience; joy in Christ, forgiveness of sins, and endurance in the tribulations of life. This is where God really makes His face to shine upon us for all to see.
One thing that this Psalm points toward is the conversion of the Gentiles. It is prophetic in that it speaks of the Lord blessing and making His salvation known "among all nations." The Psalmist wishes to open the doors of God's mercy to all. This is exactly what was done in Christ and these verses are fulfilled in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We see how far the Jews of Jesus' day had drifted from the desires of the Psalmist here. They looked for a national religion exclusive to them alone and yet God prophetically here, and fulfilled in Christ, is set to open wide the doors of His mercy. The Psalmist here desires and speaks to the reality of the blessings of salvation in the coming Messiah being "known on earth." There is no narcissistic focus on himself or the nation of the Jews. There is every desire to see the salvation of the Lord extended to all people. The Psalmist, through the Holy Spirit, here speaks the mind of God as it was then and is now today in our lives and our world.
The mercy of the Lord is open to all who will come to Him in faith. Faith is not an exclusive club, but rather an inclusive wonder. Mercy is obtainable simply be asking. There is not on record one person who has turned to the Lord seeking mercy who ended up being rejected. The Psalmist expresses his desire for that day when the God of forgiveness will be known in all the earth and His salvation experienced in all nations. My friends, that day is here. The wonder of God's grace is often more than we see at first blush. One of the real wonders of grace and forgiveness in Christ is that His mercy extends further than we would ever imagine. He extends salvation to the greatest sinner. The extent is not seen only in how far into the world His kindness extends, but also how deep in the soul it resonates and echoes though the entire person. His grace affects all of our lives. It is transforming not only for the world, but also for every aspect of our being. This is God being gracious to us. This is God blessing us. This is God making His face to shine upon us. It is seen in His forgiveness, and may we all be partakers of that mercy extended to us in Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,