Summary: Here in Psalm 67 we find the purpose of God’s blessing. This purpose, for all the peoples to know salvation, is what makes Psalm 67 one of the foundational scriptures as the Biblical basis of Missions. Psalm 67 is a glorious Missions song.
The Mission Song (Psalm 67:1-7)
When I served as Assistant Pastor of the Baptist Church, in Scotland, one of the first things I wanted to do was memorize Numbers 6:24- 26. Why the priority to memorize Numbers 6? This is because our Pastor would repeat this scripture as the benediction, at the close of every service.
I knew, as the young assistant from America, I would be leading the services when he was away. I realized that you just don’t read the benediction in the Highlands of Scotland. No way! You look directly at the congregation, raise your hands and you “pronounce” the benediction, loud and boldly. This meant that I had to really get to know Numbers 6:24-26. It would not be good to “mess up” on the blessing!
I learned this blessing and was able to pronounce it: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) Pronouncing the blessing went well for me every time, but I always remained a little worried when I came to the, “lift up his countenance” part.
When I got over the intimidation of memorizing and pronouncing this verse, I realized its great significance. This is the blessing that God himself gave through Moses for Aaron to bless the Israelites. It was the blessing pronounced by Aaron, and later those who held his priestly office, at the public assemblies.
Our passage, Psalm 67 is derived from this Aaronic benediction. The Aaronic blessing is contained in the seven verses of Psalm 67. But here, Psalm 67 goes beyond the blessing in Numbers 6. Here in Psalm 67 we find the purpose of God’s blessing. This purpose, for all the peoples to know salvation, is what makes Psalm 67 one of the foundational scriptures as the Biblical basis of Missions. Psalm 67 is a glorious Missions song. Psalm 67:1 -7
I) Why to all nations? First Bless Us! (Vs 1-3)
Some Psalms are intended for individual worship. In these Psalms the individual worshipper of God should be alone pouring out his heart to God. Other Psalms are for corporate worship, when the assembly collectively gives praise. This Psalm is for corporate worship.
Psalm 67 was probably sung corporately every year at the Feast of Pentecost. As Christians, at the mention of Pentecost, we immediately think of Acts Chapter 2. Our minds take us to the time when the Holy Spirit came in power. This great event happened when Israel was celebrating the Pentecost Festival, thus we call the coming of the Holy Spirit Pentecost. This festival is also referred to as the Harvest Feast.
It came fifty days after Passover. We could compare our American Thanksgiving Holiday in November as something similar for us, as to what the Pentecost was for Israel. A time we thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon us. The most Basic prayer for any of us is to ask God to bless us. We ask, “Father meet my needs, Bless me!” In celebrating the harvest, there is, especially for the agricultural society, a keen sense of dependence on God. Give us the rain and the sunshine needed to grow the crops and sustain our life. Protect us from natural disasters. A calamity that will destroy them is just a natural disaster away.
God is praised at the Harvest Feast. God has blessed Israel with an abundant harvest. But this kind of cry to God is not limited to the agricultural society. Everyone is crying to God, “help me, heal me, sustain me, Oh God, bless me!” Even the animistic societies are looking for a blessing. There is a basic human need to be blessed by God.
The tribal, wherever they are, might not have a biblical view of God, but they share the basic desire expressed in this verse, Bless me God! The desire to be blessed by God is shared by all people in all places, of all religions.
The next aspect of this scripture though, is unique. The Hebrews don’t stop with their desire to be blessed. They don’t ask God just for mercy, grace and for God’s face to shine on them, like Aaron’s blessing. Here in Psalm 67 we find the deeper meaning behind God’s blessing.
That through those God has blessed, others will in turn be blessed with the salvation God gives! This Psalm reveals God’s missionary purpose that all nations may know God’s salivation! Here in this missionary Psalm the name used for God is different than what was used in Aaron’s blessing.
In Numbers Chapter 6 the reference for God is YHWH or Jehovah (strong # 3068). This name is Israel’s covenant name for God. It is an intimate name for the relationship Israel enjoyed with God. Numbers Chapter 6 is a blessing for Israel, the covenant people. In Psalm 67 the Hebrew name used for God is Elohim (Strong # 430).