In the first verse of Psalm 67, the psalmist wrote, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us”. These words, that were written so long ago, are a prayer in themselves. Any person that believes in and loves the Lord, would want to repeat those words. The most important thing in the world, in the universe, is the relationship that exists with the all powerful, all loving God.
For a Christian, the words of verse one are especially precious, because God has been gracious to his children. His face does indeed shine upon Christians. Consider people you know that are faithful followers of Christ. They have to struggle with problems just like everyone else, but they have a spiritual “resilience” that allows them to overcome the trials of life. A person that lives a sinful life shows the effects of that life. There is a “hardness” in that person’s attitude, and time is usually not kind. But, as a faithful Christian ages, there is compassion and love that is evident in that person’s life. Instead of fear, there is anticipation for the future.
In Jesus Christ, all of those things happen. What a great cry of joy the combined redeemed in Christ can make before the world! In Jesus Christ IS the hope and promise of salvation. In many primitive parts of the world, in countless communities and homes, in millions of daily encounters, faithful Christians carry the message of love and hope to a world that is sinking into despair. Thank God for their efforts for the Lord!
Unfortunately, there are also too many Christians who are still enslaved by their own doubts and weaknesses. Too many try to maintain a “dual citizenship” in the Kingdom and in the world. That does not work! James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” God’s people must throw off the shackles of the world and confidently go forth in the service of the Lord.
Verse 2 is also very valid today, “may your ways be known on earth, your salvation among all nations”. Paul wrote that the mystery of the ages had been answered in Jesus Christ and the Good News that salvation and the forgiveness of sins was open to every person that would accept the Lord as his or her savior. The mission, and responsibility, for spreading that message was to be given to the ones that had accepted that message and. had freely joined the Lord in faith and obedience. Today, that great commission is still very much alive. God has entrusted to His children the mission of letting the world know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “May your ways be known on earth, your salvation among all nations”, that is the mission of the Christian.
In verse 4 the psalmist wrote, “May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. There are two thoughts here. First, IF the leaders of the world would allow the righteous love of God to work in their lives, the world would be a safer place, and a much better place to live in. However, too many who live and rule, do so without any consideration for the Lord or His will. Sin and the power of Satan can be seen at work in the affairs of the world.
The second thought of that passage holds a promise. Regardless of what Satan, or wicked rulers, can do, the Lord, and His Plan, will prevail. The Assyrian and Babylonian empires were wicked and pagan, but the Lord used them to fulfill His plan. The Roman Empire was ruthlessly efficient; but the rapid spread of the Gospel was aided by the stability that it afforded.
Every trick that Satan will use will be turned for the good by the Lord. This is the important message that the great body of believers must remember – the Lord is victorious, and those who are faithful to Him will have a Crown of Life for eternity. Praise the Lord for the great love that He has shown to all His people! James Shelburn