Psalm 67 Part 1 - May God Be Gracious To Us
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!
This psalm is divided up into three stanzas. The first is verses 1-3. The second is verses 4-5. And the third is verses 6-7.
In this Psalm the psalmist is seeking the grace of God. He writes in verse one, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His fact to shine upon us.”
We know that God gives grace to the humble and He resists the proud. And it would appear that this psalmist is making this request with a humble spirit. I say this for several reasons. First, he does not demand grace. He does not insist upon a blessing. He says, “May God be gracious to us…”. The word ‘may’ is used as a prayer and it is used to express a possibility. Secondly, the psalmist is seeking grace not only for himself, but for others as well. God is the only one who can bestow such a needed gift and the psalmist does not intend to hoard it all to himself. He says, “...be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us.” Thirdly, as you read the rest of this psalm the psalmist requests this grace so that the world, the people, and the nations will see God’s wisdom and power. He wants the LORD to be glorified and for all the earth to praise the LORD. Fourth, the psalmist desires grace so that the world will fear the LORD. The fear of God can banish all other fears that people may have.
As I consider these three stanza’s it appears to me that each stanza contains its own theme. For example, each stanza can be given a theme or a title,
‘God’s Grace Given To His People Makes His Saving Power Known.’
‘God’s Grace Makes Nations Glad As He Judges And Guides The People.’
‘God’s Grace Brings Fourth Growth In All The Earth.’
Or let’s make it a bit simpler perhaps by saying it this way,
God’s particular grace
God’s providential grace
God’s productive grace
In verse two the psalmist says, “...that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.” The psalmist is asking for grace so that the world, the peoples, and the nations can see the way of the LORD. The Christian may be on the narrow road, but he is not the original trail blazer. The LORD goes before. We pick up our cross daily and follow Christ. And when we follow after Christ we become a testimony of the grace of God and God’s way is made known and His saving power is seen. As a result, God draws others into that same narrow path.
This path that a believer walks upon is a wonderful path. It is a blessing to follow after Christ and even if there were just a few people on this path there would be no other path that I would rather be on. But how much easier it is when we find many brothers and sisters on that path. The path that only has a few travelers can be more difficult because of the obstacles that grow up and the hedges that creep in upon the path. But when there are many on the path the journey becomes a little easier. Again, the psalmist seems to know this and so he prays for grace to be upon all the brothers and sisters who are on this journey. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us…”.
John Flavel, in his book on the Providence of God, about a different matter but his words will make the point clearer. He writes, “Is is much easier for faith to travel in a path that is well known to it, than to beat out a new one which it never trod, nor can see one step before it.” No Christian is a ground breaker and a pioneer. Christ always goes ahead and clears the way. Yet, it is nice when we have brothers and sisters on the journey with us to make it a bit easier as we share the burden together.
But one must ask at this point, ‘What is the eye-catching, conspicuous, striking, and stunning nature of this grace given to believers that grabs the attention of this world? There are probable many answers to that question but let me give just two. First, grace which is given to the unlovely and undeserving people will be an attraction to all who witness it. God’s kindness leads people to repentance and this kindness is seen personally and in others (Romans 2:4). In either case, it makes an impact on the person who receives grace and the one who witnesses it. This prayer itself is a demonstration of remarkable grace. Here God’s people are longing not simply for a loved one to be saved, a friend to be saved, but for the peoples throughout the world to be saved. This is a grace that I hope every generation of believers shows the world around them.
The second way the grace is shown in a profound way is through the justification and sanctification of a believer. And I will emphasize that it takes both, justification and sanctification, to make an impact upon the world. James says that one will say that he has faith but he will show his faith by his good works. The world needs to hear about justification and to see its fruit in the life of believers. This is a powerful testimony that may bring many to faith. Consider Titus 2:11-14,
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.
Paul describes the great power of grace in a believers life. And in Psalm 67 the grace given to believers is ‘so that Your (the LORD) way may be known on earth, your saving power among all the nations’. In all of this the LORD gets the glory and the praise. All of this is by His grace. Therefore the psalmist says, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”