# 216 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 67. May God bless us and protect us.

Political leaders around the world are working at a frenetic pace to keep up with the rapid spread of an invisible enemy destroying our lives and livelihood, and everyone is wondering, when will it end? When will life on earth come back to some sort of normality again? Many are applying health and financial band aids to try and fix things, but these too often seem to be powerless to really take any sort of permanent control.

I think, that generally what actions are being taken are good, but just maybe it is also time for an acknowledgement among us all that we desperately need God’s intervention and blessing.  Psalm 67 is a good prayer psalm to use on such occasions.   

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.

Verse 1 is an echo of the Jewish priestly blessing found in Numbers 6:22-27 which reads:

The Lord bless you and protect you!                                                                                                      

The Lord deal kindly and graciously with you!                                                                                         

The Lord bestow his favour upon you and grant you peace!                                                          

(JSB – Jewish Study Bible)

The JSB commentary suggests:

One “duty of priests is to bless the community of Israel…or individual Israelites…in the name of the Lord. The three-part blessing here invokes God’s blessing and favour toward the children of Israel for the sake of their general well-being, ‘shalom’. Each of the three parts is longer than the preceding one, emphasizing the overflowing of blessing that is hoped for.”   (# 7)

How we desperately need God to answer this prayer for us in these days!

To bless us

To protect us

To deal kindly with us

To be graciously with us.

To bestow his favour upon us.

And to grant us His peace.

But God never intended that these blessings were intended only for the people of Israel.

If we look back at his covenant with Abraham, we recognize it was meant for everyone. God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and
all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

God’s plan has always been the universal blessing of the people of every nation through His people.

So that is why the psalmist prays:

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,

So, no matter who you are, what your heart language is, what your ethnicity is, our God desires to bless you so that you can be “glad and sing for joy.”

The ultimate proof of this being seen in what Christians worldwide will celebrate in a few days’ time – the death and resurrection of Jesus!

As the Apostle John wrote:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  
(John 3:16-17)

May we not only do the right things to endeavour to halt the spread of this deadly virus, but also cry out to the God who is Lord of all to bless us and protect us and may He receive the glory and honour he deserves amongst all the people of the world. May His ways be known on earth, and His salvation among all nations.  Amen.

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