Psalm 67 - Evangelistic Praise

INTRODUCTION: In only six verses Psalm 67 presents an evangelistic theme in the Old Testament period long before the coming of Christ, as the psalmist gives praise to the LORD for a future time when all peoples of the earth will be blessed by Him. This psalm looks beyond the nation of Israel, the chosen people of God, who have many adversaries in the world. It does not contain verses asking for judgment to fall on the enemies of Israel, or on those who are in rebellion against the LORD, as do many of the Psalms. The present blessings for Israel, and anticipation of extended future blessings, evoke the praise within this psalm. There will be a period when even gentile nations will no longer have warring conflicts among themselves when they come under the rule and reign of the LORD. Though the author, and time period for the writing of this psalm, cannot accurately be determined from the content, other Old Testament scriptures, before and after this period, also carry the message that God's mercy was not exclusively reserved for Israel, but could be available to all people of the earth. By reflecting on related passages and on the succinct message in the few verses of this psalm, my awareness has increased that the eternal salvation God has granted to me, should also transform my life sufficiently that I may be useful as the Lord continues to spread grace and mercy to others.

NOTE: Quoted Bible passages are from the ASV (American Standard Version).


A - IN ABRAHAM SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED

“1 ¶ Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2 and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: 3 and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3 ASV)

“15 ¶ And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, 17 that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:15-18 ASV)

“1 ¶ And there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines, unto Gerar. 2 And Jehovah appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5 because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Genesis 26:1-5 ASV)

“10 ¶ And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed; and behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and, behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14 and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:10-14 ASV)

“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, [saying,] In thee shall all the nations be blessed.” (Galatians 3:8 ASV).

COMMENTS: The LORD God spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob confirming a promise that would provide blessing for those chosen by the LORD among all tribes, tongues, and nations of the earth. Though Abraham had more than one son by birth, Isaac was the "only son" according to the LORD (Genesis 22:2, 12, 16). Likewise, Isaac had twin sons, but Jacob was to become the father of the nation of Israel according to God's plan and purpose, while Esau despised his birthright in favor of immediate gratification from the world system. No one comes to God on their own merit, but the LORD has boundless mercy for those who will turn to Him. The way this comes about in the lives of various individuals is not always easy for us to understand, but all glory must go to the LORD. “10 And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, [even] by our father Isaac— 11 for [the children] being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, 12 it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. 14 ¶ What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.” (Romans 9:10-16 ASV). The Bible does not hide the imperfections in the three patriarchs, or in their many descendents down through the line to Christ Jesus, for we can only have the righteousness of Christ applied to us by grace through faith. And Christ Jesus is the only one who never knew sin.


B - PSALM 67, GOD'S SALVATION KNOWN AMONG ALL NATIONS

1 <<For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm, a Song.>>

God be merciful unto us, and bless us, [And] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. 2 That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy salvation among all nations.

COMMENTS: The blessings provided for Israel were not because they inherently deserved any favor from the LORD, but because of His sovereign choice. “6 For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. 7 Jehovah did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples: 8 but because Jehovah loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he sware unto your fathers, hath Jehovah brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that Jehovah thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, 10 and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-10 ASV). As with those faithful of Israel, and for any believers today, who call upon the LORD for mercy and blessing; the motivation should not be for individual benefit, but "That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy salvation among all nations," as verse two describes. We should look with anticipation to fulfillment of God's future plan since, “Jehovah hath made known his salvation: His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the nations.” (Psalm 98:2 ASV), and this should bring the response in us and many others, “O praise Jehovah, all ye nations; Laud him, all ye peoples.” (Psalm 117:1 ASV).


C - PSALM 67, THE LORD SHALL GOVERN ALL NATIONS AND SHALL BE PRAISED

3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee. 4 Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For thou wilt judge the peoples with equity, And govern the nations upon earth. Selah. 5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee.

COMMENTS: The quoted passage below was first shared publicly as king David had the ark of the covenant brought into Jerusalem, to eventually be housed in the temple built by Solomon. Verses 3 through 5 of Psalm 67 encapsulate much of these thoughts. “23 Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth; Show forth his salvation from day to day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvellous works among all the peoples. 25 For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He also is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols: But Jehovah made the heavens. 27 Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and gladness are in his place. 28 Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength; 29 Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come before him: Worship Jehovah in holy array. 30 Tremble before him, all the earth: The world also is established that it cannot be moved. 31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth.” (1Chronicles 16:23-31 ASV). Oh, that all the earth would tremble before the LORD God in humble submission to His absolutely sovereign reign, as must be the case with all who place their trust in the only Savior from sin and death. “1 ¶ Thus saith Jehovah, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what manner of house will ye build unto me? and what place shall be my rest? 2 For all these things hath my hand made, and [so] all these things came to be, saith Jehovah: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word.” (Isaiah 66:1-2 ASV)


D - psalm 67, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH SHALL FEAR HIM

6 The earth hath yielded its increase: God, even our own God, will bless us. 7 God will bless us; And all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

COMMENTS: As the psalmist seems to acknowledge, God has already kept His promise during the times when Israel adhered to the injunction in Leviticus. “3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:3-4 ASV). And another psalm speaks of the goodness of the LORD for those who demonstrate the fear of the LORD through obedience to Him. “9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him, That glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth springeth out of the earth; And righteousness hath looked down from heaven. 12 Yea, Jehovah will give that which is good; And our land shall yield its increase.” (Psalm 85:9-12 ASV). It seems that not many of the people of Israel stayed faithful to the LORD as thankful for His blessings, or had a clear recognition that they were being blessed that others might see the glory of the LORD as His salvation spread among all nations. Over the centuries the kingdom of Israel was dispersed among the nations due to their widespread disobedience to the LORD. Through very similar prophecy, two prophets in the latter days before the fall of the southern kingdom made bold statements about God's plan to bless many nations through Israel, at a time when it would seem the purposes of God through Israel had completely failed as that nation would finally dissipate and be absorbed into pagan nations.

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. And he will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 2:1-5 ASV).

“But in the latter days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it. And many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem; and he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of Jehovah of hosts hath spoken it. For all the peoples walk every one in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:1-5 ASV).

Isaiah wrote so much for us to consider about the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. "21 Declare ye, and bring [it] forth; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath showed this from ancient time? who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. 23 By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Isaiah 45:21-23 ASV). And we know now that this speaks of Christ Jesus, and that we serve the risen Savior. “8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven and [things] on earth and [things] under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11 ASV).


--- Reflections in prayer ---

How easy it is to seek comfort from the blessings you Lord have granted to me even though I may say that I believe that I have been called according to your purpose. I am so much like the children of Israel who often received the blessings of God, but drifted away from worship and thanksgiving to such a degree that you called it prostitution. Their understanding of Your Word must have been as limited by application to daily living experiences, as I too often allow to be the case in my own life, even though I have the additional revelation of the New Testament. . Help me Lord to remember it is your blessing that meets my needs, and not to confuse those blessings as being solely from the devices of other men, government, or even of myself. And keep my thoughts on the sure hope that is set before me as I have placed my trust in Christ and "lay up my treasure in heaven." As I learn obedience to your Word, and seek to follow the two great commandments - Love the LORD God and love my neighbor as myself - may I remember that the salvation of Christ Jesus is to be spread among all people and nations before the Kingdom of God will be fully seen. Remind me of the words of John the baptist who said, "I must decrease, and He {Jesus} must increase." Lord, as you have given me light and life, may I follow your words to glorify God alone, as recorded in Matthew. “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Amen and amen.

Published 29 June 2010