Questions for Littles: Upon whom does v1 ask God to be merciful and to cause His face to shine? But then among which nations does v2 hope this will make His salvation to be known? And how many of the peoples do v3 and v5 expect will come to praise God? How will all these come to feel about all this (v4)? What else will respond well at the time when all the peoples have been brought to saving (and praising!) faith (v6a)? Whose God is the God that blesses us, if we are believers (v6b)?This week’s Call to Worship and Prayer for Help came from Psalm 67. The end of the Psalm is God blessing us as a result of all the nations and people having been brought to faith. But how does the Psalm get to that end?
There is a desire in this Psalm that God’s mercy and blessing to us would be so great that everyone would hear about it. I wonder, when we pray for such blessing, how much of our desire is looking forward to the Lord’s missionary use of it.
But that is the great desire here: for God’s way and salvation to be known. Isn’t that a wonderful way of putting it? It places the priority of emphasis right were it belongs: on the desire for God to be glorified. Yes, love of neighbor means that we rejoice in his salvation. But that is the secondary love.
Even more than thinking, “Oh that men might be saved!,” we ought first to be thinking, “Oh that God would be glorified!” The two are not mutually exclusive; the Lord delights to save. But the way we think about it reveals the priorities of our hearts. Would we pray for a friend’s salvation, “that Your way may be known in that house, and Your salvation among all the families of that neighborhood!”?
But God isn’t just glorified in the fact of saving people, He’s also the object of all of their praise. vv3 and 5 are bookends of praise around the crown jewel of v4. Four times, in these two book ends, comes the great shout, “Let the peoples praise You!!”
Why will they praise like this? v4 gives the answer: because God has made them glad, and the praise that they sing, they sing out of the joy of their hearts. God has preserved and vindicated His righteousness while saving us. This is the great marvel of the cross!
Do we praise like that—out of richly felt joy, and focused on the rich doctrine of His judgement, righteousness, and justice (cf. Rom 3:25-26)?
What is a higher priority for you, your comfort or God’s glory? How do you know?Suggested songs: ARP67 “O God, Give Us Your Blessing” or HB493 “Lord, Bless and Pity Us”