Blogging the Bible 137 – Psalms 64-68 – Blessing for the nations

Today’s psalms major on praise to God, and to me Psalm 67 stands out from them all.

For one thing, it’s refreshing to read of the blessing of God being in plenty and celebration rather than in victory and vengeance. But more so, it’s clear that the psalmist here looks for God’s blessing to reach beyond Israel to the nations. He takes the ‘Aaronic blessing’ from Numbers 6 and gives it a new purpose. He prays that God will bless Israel so that the nations will see his love and wisdom and turn to the way of the LORD.

The Psalmist prays that the nations will be glad and sing for joy – and I can’t help preferring this to the usual prayer for their humiliation. He prays that this joy will come about through the recognition that God guides the nations upon earth – not because this guidance will be something new but because it will be newly recognised and acknowledged.

This is a model of election and God’s special grace for Israel which feels more in line with the line of the New Testament, and which has a lot still to say to us, about the calling of God’s people to bring his blessing to the ‘others’ whoever they may be. Being called and blessed by God is a huge privilege, which carries with it a great responsibility. How can we work for the increase of the world’s provision, and live out the equitable judgement of God? That may be part of showing the world the attraction of his blessing.

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