There’s Nobody on Earth that God Doesn’t Love

I grew up in a very liturgical church.  At the end of every service the minister would come down from the platform, raise his hands and say the following words: “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.  I even learned in Catechism classes that this “benediction” came from Aaron the priest in Numbers 6:24-26

When the minister of my church would perform this liturgical act at the end of every service, it was clear that we were supposed to receive this “blessing” from God for the coming week.  But to be honest, as a young person, I felt awkward with this blessing being foisted upon me.

However, one aspect of this psalm, is unique from the Aaronic blessing.  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.

May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

    that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.

    Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

    Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

    Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

    The earth has yielded its increase;

God, our God, shall bless us.

    God shall bless us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him! [1]

The deeper meaning was 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 salvation! 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).

If God himself gave the Aaronic blessing, why make a change in the name used for God? Because in Numbers Chapter 6 God is giving a blessing for Israel. In Psalm 67 we have the purpose for God blessing Israel. That is that all peoples everywhere are blessed with God’s salvation. This name, Elohim, used in Psalm 67 is used to refer to God’s relationship to all men. There is an important change in emphasis here.
That emphasis centers on the missionary heart of God, for all peoples to know Him. Psalm 67 asks that God’s purpose come to pass. That in blessing Israel all the nations of the earth might come to know Him as well. We are blessed by God in order to bless others. God’s blessing to us is meant to be a thoroughfare not a dead end street.

When we are blessed by God others should be blessed.  God’s blessing was meant for the whole world!

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 67:1–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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