Psalm 67

Psalm 67
Make Your Face Shine upon Us
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

(1)May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
(2)that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
(3)Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

(4)Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
(5)Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

(6)The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
(7)God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

What a beautiful little song full of praise and adoration and meant for all.

A psalm and a song dedicated to the chief musician to be played upon stringed instruments, Neginoth. This Hebrew word, Neginoth, probably means just that, “upon stringed instruments.”

The New King James Version titles this psalm/song: An Invocation and a Doxology. Or the English Standard Version (above) titles it: Make Your Face Shine Upon Us.

There is no author named and no historical time period mentioned. Some commentators believe it sounds like a song of David and it’s surrounded by others signed by him, so therefore, it must also be written by him. There is nothing to indicate with certainty who wrote this psalm, or when. God included it in His Word without a signature, so that is all we know.

This little psalm/song sounds a lot like what we know of as the “Aaronic Blessing” or “priestly benediction.” Many of us grew up hearing this blessing at the end of church services. God instructed Aaron, Moses’s brother and the first of a long line of Israelite priests, to speak these words over the people in book of Numbers. The blessing may be spoken by a man but the words are from God Himself.

The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.'"
Numbers 6:22-26

The blessing is a reminder that God watches over His children and that He is ever present and willing to lavish good things upon those He loves.

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. (NIV)

God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, 
that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. (NKJV)

Verse one and two are a call on God for His blessing, for Him to look upon the people and be pleased. A shining face is a pleased face. The people call upon God to be pleased in them and to bless them and be merciful toward them. And the reason for the blessing: so that all the earth will know Him. If other nations look upon the Hebrews and see a blessed people, then they will come to know God. If the people are blessed, they can turn around and use that blessing to reach others.

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Romans 10:12-13

All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. No matter race or gender or sexuality or country of birth or past mistakes, ALL who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. During David and Paul’s time (when the above letter was written to the church in Rome), that was shocking to the Jewish people to hear. Some believed that God was only their God, that He didn’t love any other, that He didn’t fight for any other people. Don’t you find that some Christians act this way today? Don’t you find that some who claim to follow Jesus want to exclude certain groups of people from the blessings of God?

Despite the gloomy notions of some, we cling to the belief that the kingdom of Christ will embrace the whole habitable globe, and that all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for this glorious consummation we agonize in prayer.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. 
Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
Psalm 67:3-5 NKJV

Selah/Interlude is a musical or a reflective pause. Maybe the worship leader paused the music and the words to let the people pray silently in their own hearts. Or maybe the music was something special here, like a musical intermission of sorts.

This is a prayer to God! Let all the people praise you, God, and sing for joy! Not just, let the people praise you, but the psalmist cries TWICE, let ALL the people praise you!

These words are no vain repetition, but a chorus worthy to be sung again and again. The great theme of the psalm is the participation of the Gentiles in the worship of Jehovah; the psalmist is full of it, he hardly knows how to contain or express his joy.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
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.
Psalm 67:6-7 NIV

Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
Psalm 67:6-7 NKJV

Does the earth withhold its fruitfulness until we are thankful? Does it wait for God’s hand to approve? The first part of verse six may indicate that the psalm was written during a plentiful harvest or in anticipation of one. But “the harvest” is also a metaphor for the cultivation of God’s love and promises to all people.

Jesus spoke of a harvest and the need for workers. He spoke of a the fields being His. The world is His; He came and prepared the harvest. Now His workers, the ones He left behind, must continue the hard work of bringing the harvest to the Father.

The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: "The harvest if great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.
Luke 10:1-4 NLT

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

God, our own God, shall bless us: When we share God’s heart and vision for the world, we shall be blessed. We must be blessed. So we see a glorious circle. We are blessed; we use that blessing to pray and reach a hurting world, and as that aligns us with the heart of God, we are blessed even more, so we use that blessing for all the earth…and it just goes on and on.

David Guzik, pastor,

Father in heaven, thank you for such a wonderful and sweet little song of praise and adoration. Help us to share our blessings with those around us so that they will know you. Bless us and keep us, may your face shine upon us and give us peace. Amen.


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