Welcome to Welling! For your spiritual health and growth. All of us have heard the beautiful “Blessing” song which has overtaken the world, especially during the time of the global pandemic. It has won all kinds of awards, from Emmy Awards and other recognition.
When I was in New York City, a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine had brought together 100 churches in order to share in the singing of the song, virtually recorded on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The historical current historical moment, which affected the entire human race of many of us can remember these 100 churches sang the song in poignant memory of that event, “The Blessing.” “The Blessing,” song is taken out of Numbers chapter six. The Aaronic blessing, “The Lord Bless You and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.”
That is the undergirding blessing, which is the psalmist recovery in Psalm 67. I enjoyed the New York Blessing song so much that I sent it to a few friends who have interests and connections in New York, either personally or relationally or even materially.
And then I found a global version of that song–sung in about 50 languages of 50 countries. And every country probably has a version of it. All of us know that benediction at the end of every church service, we’ve heard people say, pastors say, and priests say, “The Lord bless you and keep you.”
Now what the Psalmist does is to turn that blessing benediction into a prayer. That’s what we find in Psalm 67. In verse one, he says, “God, be gracious to us and bless us and cause your face to shine upon us.”
But unlike the benediction, he turns it into a purpose statement. The reason he wants God to bless them is so that God’s way may be known on the nations and among the peoples on the Earth. That this is a prayer of blessing, not for selfish reasons, but for God’s reasons and world reasons.
This is not an egocentric psalm. Like I said last time, it’s a theocentric Psalm. It is also geocentric for the whole world. And we will just deal with the first stanza found in verses one and two. If you want to write a phrase around those two verses, write the word “global knowledge” because you are being blessed.
“Global knowledge.” “The Lord bless you,” for one reason the Lord bless you. He says, ‘God, please be gracious to us. Bless us and cause your face to shine on us.’ That. But let us look at the three dimensions of this prayer for this episode of “Blessed Beyond.” The first thing he says to the God, as I said last time is for the whole world. God who created all. The creator God. The Savior God. Three prayers.
“God be gracious to us.” What an unbelievable prayer. It’s a distinct mark of how God relates to us.
Not because we merit any of his blessing. Not because we can obligate him. Not because we can manipulate him. Not because we can negotiate his blessing upon us. He deals with us in grace.
Grace, as many of you know, is unmerited favor. But I’d like to add a couple of other nuances to grace. Not only is it God’s unmerited favor, it is also God’s unconditional blessing. Because you know, the Lord Jesus, the moment you trusted him by grace through faith when you were saved.
God’s graces came upon you. Not because you were anything. I was anything. But because Jesus brings God’s grace–the fullness of grace along with his truth. God be gracious to us is unmerited favor, unconditional blessing. But it’s also unlimited enablement.
God does not require things of you for which he does not enable you. The unlimited enablement of God is a measure of his grace.
The second part of this prayer is, “God be gracious to us. God bless us.”
Oh, please don’t ever stop asking God to bless you as though you manufacture your own blessings. Sometimes we are in systems where there is greater economic material blessing than other places. I have been to systems where the country and the government keeps the people oppressed and the economic situation even across a few kilometers, a completely varied line between
South Korea and North Korea or the Dominican Republic and Haiti. These are systems. But remember, God is the source of blessing. But it’s never for our own sake. We will notice that next time.
God be gracious to us. God bless us. God cause your face to shine upon us. This is a beautiful picture of God’s total pleasure in the way we handle His blessing of salvation and more. God, be pleased. Let us smile break out on your face because we handle your blessing of grace.
I handle your blessing of prosperity–not commanding it, not demanding it, but receiving it for the sake of others. “Cause your face to shine upon us.” I want you to do something that my wife has done. I do it in a different way.
She was challenged by our daughter in law with a book which said, “write down your blessings.” And I think Bonnie has written thousands of blessings–10,000 blessings. You heard the song 10,000 Reasons. 10,000 years. 10,000 Tongues. Write down God’s Blessings.
And you will notice you’re Blessed Beyond so you can be a Blessing Beyond. “God, be gracious to us, bless us. Cause your face to shine upon us.” By the way, you will now find the first person singular pronoun in this song.
It’s always us, us, us. He’s praying for God’s blessing and the believing community, and of course, individuals–you and me. We are part of the community, but together we will be the recipients and the distributors of God’s blessings.