If you go to a traditional church chances are you have received the Benediction from Psalm 67. It is a beautiful blessing to receive as a service ends and we embark on the world and our week ahead.
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us
And often is added: “and give you peace”. A real blessing as a blessing should be, we leave feeling good, hopeful, encouraged.
But have you ever received the full scripture? It does not end there, this is Psalm 67a, but rest of Psalm 67, Psalm 67b is:
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations
We receive God’s blessing “so that” God’s ways may be known by all who inhabit the earth and for his salvation to be for all “nations”. Here the word nations is “gowy” which actually means foreigner or a foreign group of people.
So we who are the modern day” Israel” are blessed to declare God’s ways to the world and his salvation among the non-Israelite or non-believer, the Gentile, the outsider.
This concept is similar to the blessing Abraham received in Genesis 12 when he was told to leave all that was familiar and go to a land God would show him.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
The reason he was told to go? See the rest of the scripture:
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you
Abraham was sent out by God to grow, be known and be a blessing. Through Abraham’s offspring – that is us today – all peoples will be blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing. Blessed to make God known.
This is also repeated in other places, notably the familiar Psalm of David’s lament after committing adultery in Psalm 51:1-12. David eloquently asks for mercy, for cleansing, and forgiveness. He asks to be made new, for his heart to be cleaned and to be restored.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then David states why in verse 13:
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
Again this theme is repeated. Saved, cleansed, restored, made new, why? “so that” he could teach transgressors God’s ways and so that sinners would turn back to God.
You and I are so blessed to be restored and forgiven for all our junk. We can rejoice as our relationship with God is restored by Jesus. But it does not end here!
We can now be the conduits of God’s grace and mercy to “the foreigner”, the outsider, the non-believer, the “not-yet-blessed”. We can share what he has done for us with others outside of God’s family so they can also experience the blessings we have received.
We are blessed to be a blessing! Amen!