Summary: This sermon has a mission focus and explains that God blesses his people in order that they may become a blessing to others in his Creation.
I need your help.
You see, every day I come across people, and every night I see a world of people on the news, who have no good fortune. Nothing seems to go their way. There are so many. Perhaps you’ve met one or two. The frustrated, the depressed, the unfulfilled. The unemployed, the unloved. The starving, the oppressed. The suicidal and the drug dependent. The godless. As a child of God I have an obligation to bring a blessing of hope to others. That’s where you come in.
I need your help because, although God’s blessing is large enough to share around, I just don’t have the divine capacity to do it alone (no surprises there). And God doesn’t want me to do it alone. He knows that all his people are different, and you can bring a blessing to a person whom I may never connect with - you know, psychologically, let alone to meet or interact with.
But first we need to know little bit about blessings. So let’s turn to Psalm 67 and see what we can find out.
1. The source of God’s blessing (v1).
God is the source of all blessing. That’s easy to say, but it’s another thing to believe it with all your heart - just ask anyone who bought a ticket in this weeks 20 million dollar Power-ball Jackpot. Even still, it’s a conviction that is essential to the Christian life and how we live it.
a. Essential because blessing brings joy.
It’s an essential conviction because God’s blessing is what makes life on earth not only possible, but actually enjoyable. The Psalmist writes, May God be gracious to us and bless us. That means may God find pleasure and satisfaction in us by bestowing power for success, prosperity and fruitfulness upon us. Now that sounds like an enjoyable kind of life. Not only does God bless us with the essentials of life - food, clothing, shelter - but the power to develop these things further and enjoy the process of successful living in every season of life whether good or bad.
Jesus made this clear when he spoke about blessings. He said,
MT 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MT 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
MT 5:5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
MT 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
MT 5:7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
MT 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
MT 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
MT 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MT 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
b. Essential because blessing brings life.
Notice that happiness rests on more than just a worldly definition of success. That’s true because happiness rests on more than just experiencing God’s generosity with regard to ‘things.’ The greatest blessing of all life is a spiritual one. Spiritual in the sense that Christians experience the removal of the curse and judgment that have become a part of the world since the time of Adam. Romans 8:20-21 says,
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
The greatest blessing of the Christian life is that we have received from the hand of God, - creation (ie the world and us included), liberated from its bondage to decay. The Christian has been set free from destruction. It is the greatest blessing because knowing God is humanities greatest need.
That’s why God is central in this first verse. For God to look favourably upon us, ie to shine his face upon us and be kind and merciful toward us, is more important than attaining any level of recognition in this lifetime. The fact that God has turned his attention to those who know him is more important than any fame or fortune. Surely God’s face has shone down upon those who know him no matter who they are.
God is the source of all blessing. Every believer knows it. They know it because of the experience of knowing him; having his face shine upon them; and feeling a personal consciousness of having been singled out by God for special attention. But it would be wrong to let our understanding end there.