Text: Psalms 67:1-7
How many of you would like God to bless your life? Should you ask God to bless your life? Or is that selfish?
Bruce Wilkinson’s bestselling book, ‘The Prayer of Jabez,’ elaborates on an obscure figure mentioned in 1 Chronicles, arguing that we should seek God’s blessing always. In 1 Chronicles 4:10, we read Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying:
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)
Notice: “And God granted him that which he requested.” Or – God granted what he asked.
Why did God grant what Jabez asked? Or what is the reason for God’s blessing?
There are many ways we can answer these questions with Scriptural support: He loves His people; He delights to do them good; He is good. But there’s one fundamental reason that God blesses His people, and this reason is closely related to the missionary calling of the church. Today’s text, Psalm 67:1-7, gives us that reason.
Why Should God Bless You?
Psalm 67 begins in a way that sounds similar to the prayer of Jabez (actually, it more closely echoes the blessing that Aaron received, and his descendants said over the people of Israel, as recorded in Numbers 6:24-27). But Psalm 67 goes deeper than the prayer of Jabez, telling us why God blesses His people.
Let’s look at the first two verses of Psalm 67:
“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” (Psalms 67:1-2)
The Psalmist asks for blessing so that God’s “way” may be known on the earth. The Psalmist is saying, in effect, “Bless me, so that I might glorify You; bless me so that I might show Your power, Your love, Your majesty, Your goodness to all nations.”
Note that the Psalmist is not saying:
“Bless me so that I can be comfortable.”
“Bless me so that I don’t have to work hard to make a living.”
“Bless me so that others will be envious of me.”
“Bless me so that I can be successful in the eyes of the world.”
Now listen carefully – he is primarily saying, “Bless me so that I can bless others.”
This last is a Biblical reason for God’s blessing, as He makes explicit in His call to Abraham (Genesis 12). By all means, God blesses us and gifts us so that we might serve and bless others.
But still, this is not the underlying, fundamental reason for God’s blessing. God blesses us first and foremost so that we can bring glory to His name.
Let’s investigate this further – first of all in this Psalm itself, then in other parts of Scripture.
In Psalm 67, the first two verses are parallel with the last two verses. Let’s read these last two verses:
“Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.” (Psalms 67:6-7)
The Psalmist begins by asking that God will bless us, and ends by underlining that He will indeed bless – in part through an abundant harvest of food – then concludes by once again giving the reason for the blessing: “all the ends of the earth will fear Him,” or revere Him, hold Him in awe. So, this Psalm begins and ends with the statement that God’s blessings lead to His Glory. That is the reason God blesses us.
Also look at these Scriptures: first in the Old Testament (1 Kings 8:60); then the words of Jesus Himself (John 12:27-28).
“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” (1 Kings 8:60)
On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus is faced with a dilemma. All of His humanity rebels at the thought of the spiritual and physical suffering of the cross. How should He pray to God? What should He ask for? Does He say, “Father God, bless me! Save me from this horrible death!” No – John records for us Jesus’ thoughts and prayer at this time:
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (28) Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)
Jesus does not ask for physical safety or comfort; He does not ask for worldly success or status in the eyes of others. He instead asks for what? For God’s Glory. And God responds: “Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
Jesus rejected the blessing of a longer life on earth and being kept safe from oppression, for He knew that those blessings would not lead to God’s greatest glory. We need to say with Jesus, “Lord God, if this blessing is not going to lead to Your Glory, don’t give it to me!”
So, Psalm 67, and indeed all the Bible, emphasizes that God blesses. This is a fundamental Biblical truth, but unfortunately, we don’t hear this very often in our churches. It becomes so easy for us to think of God as a heavenly social worker, the One who’s up there to serve us, to provide for us, to comfort us, to care for us. We turn our focus on man’s needs, so that we perceive God as a tool to meet our needs.
But God is at the center of everything. It is His Glory that drives His Purposes.
So, Why should God bless you? God blesses you so that you might fulfill your chief end: to Glorify Him.
But, Glorify His Name Among Whom?
The next post will answer this question and more…