Bless Us! • Psalm 67

I.   INTRODUCTION

A.  Compliments

1.   Who here likes to receive a sincere compliment from someone whose opinion matters to you?

2.   Who here likes it when someone remarks on your skill or appearance?

3.   Fact is, we all thrive on compliments

a.   when someone comes up to us and tells us that we're doing a good job

b.   or makes a comment about how good we look on a particular day, we dig it!

c.   oh, and if they say that we're awfully smart, or funny - we really feel good

4.   We love praise!

B.  Benediction

1.   I remember well the first few times I attended CCCM

2.   At the conclusion of each Sunday evening service, we would all stand as Pastor Chuck would lead us in the closing prayer

3.   Then he would end by saying

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

4.   While these words aren't exactly a compliment, they are a blessing

a.   and every week, as he would say them, I found their effect to be even better than a compliment

b.   as he spoke, it was like he was speaking them right to me as I stood in the midst of all those people

c.   standing in that crowd of thousands, Chuck didn’t know me personally - but it didn't matter

d.   because I knew that he truly meant that for every person in that room, every one of us whom God had led to sit under his teaching and leading

e.   I could hear the heart of my pastor yearning that I might know the Lord's presence and blessing

f.    and at that moment, there was a connection that took place between my pastor and me that fixed my heart to God

1) it was like drinking a glass of cold, fresh water

2) a breath of pure oxygen that energized my spirit

5.   I came to love that benediction -that Good Word that my pastor closed with

6.   It seemed to seal the night's teaching and empowered me to go home and begin a new week charged with the strength of the Spirit

C.  Aaronic Blessing

1.   It was some time later that I learned the benediction Pastor Chuck used was from Numbers 6

{Num 6:22-27}  And the LORD spoke to Moses saying,

{23} “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

{24} “The LORD bless you and keep you;

{25} The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;

{26} The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’

{27} “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

2.   Note well v. 27

a.   "So - in this manner - they, meaning the priests - shall put My name on the children of Israel - and I WILL BLESS THEM!"

b.   God wanted the people to bear His name

c.   it was the priests' job to teach the people what God was like

d.   and God here tells Aaron and his sons what they were to teach the people about Him

e.   that He was a God who wanted to bless them!

-         He is not some angry God who wants to curse them

f.    that He will protect them

-         He will not abandon them

g.   that He is pleased with them

-         He is not grumpy and upset

h.   that He is gracious

-         not stingy

i.    He approves of them and is not against them

3.   It's sad when God's representatives present Him to His people as ticked off and ready to swat them with the back of his hand like some kind of impatient father

a.   they cast God with glowering face

b.   they have Him shaking His head and looking away in disgust

4.   But the Lord wants those who present Him to speak to His people and say

{24} “The LORD bless you and keep you;

{25} The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;

{26} The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’

5.   The Psalmist took up this familiar blessing and turned it into a prayer in Psalm 67

II.  TEXT

A.  Psalm 67

{1}  God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah

{2} That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

{3} Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.

{4} Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth. Selah

{5} Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.

{6} Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.

{7} God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

1.   This Psalm was one of the songs the people would sing as they worked the fields in the Fall harvest and as they gathered together to celebrate the harvest feasts at the temple and in their homes

2.   It took the blessing of Numbers 6 that the priests put on them as the people of God, and extended it to all the peoples of the earth

3.   This psalm is clearly prophetic in it's scope

a.   it anticipates the day when the Messiah comes and rules on earth

b.   it looks to that time when the curse is lifted and the earth is restored to the place of innocence -

c.   when the nations recognize the Lord and gladly submit to His rule

B.  Focus

1.   It's vs. 1 & 2 that I want to focus on this morning

{1}  God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah

2.   The psalmist calls for a moment of meditation and reflection here because he wants us to recognize where he is drawing this from - the blessing God told the priest to put on the people

3.   He wants us to catch this because of how he applies the blessing in v. 2 . . .

{2} That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

4.   From the beginning, God did not intend the Jews to be the sole recipients of His blessing

5.   It was His plan to bless them so that all might be blessed

6.   When God first called Abraham, He said,

{Gen 12:2-3}  “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. {3} I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

7.   God's plan was to reveal Himself to Israel first, and then as they received and grew in that revelation, they would share it with the nations around them

a.   they were to be a missionary nation

b.   but they mostly failed in their mission

c.   instead of being missionaries - they became elitist and isolated themselves

8.   The psalmist is here asking for a renewal of God's favor, so that they might then be faithful to their original call of being a blessing

9.   As God poured His blessing on them, the surrounding peoples would see it and would be drawn to the God of Israel for the expression of His goodness

10. They would then break forth in praise of God

11. And as each nation yielded to the Lord, the earth would yield its abundance

C.  Bless Us - God Shall Bless Us

1.   This begins with a request for God's blessing, and it ends with the confidence of His blessing

God be merciful to us and bless us -- God shall bless us

2.   The psalmist's confidence came from his Knowledge that it was indeed God's desire to bless

3.   After all, it was God Himself who told Moses to instruct Aaron and his sons on how to put His name on the people

4.   God will bless because He wants to, and is able to

5.   It is his heart to bless, not curse

6.   I loved the ministry of Keith Green and have been deeply moved by many of his songs

a.   but there was one song he sang years ago that was very troubling

b.   it was called, Asleep In The Light

c.   it was a lament for the apathetic state of the church

d.   Green was something of an activist who took it as his ministry to prod the church toward obedience

e. there was one part of that song that always bothered me but I never knew why till years later

f.    it went . . .

Bless me Lord, Bless me Lord, You know that's all I ever hear

No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear

But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds - And He cares for your needs

But you just sit back, and keep soaking it in

Can you see it's such sin!

g.   I understand what Keith was trying to communicate, but his theology was just plain terrible!!!!!!!!

h.   while he was decrying that mentality that wants to just be lazy and selfish with God's blessing

i.    he overstates the case and makes it sound like it's wrong to seek the Lord's blessing

8.   The fact is - God wants us to soak it in and soak in it!

9.   He wants us to be thoroughly permeated with His favor

a.   so that our lives might be enriched on one hand

b.   and on the other so that we might be a channel of blessing to others

c.   all to the end that they might come to know and love Him

III. CONCLUSION

A.  Be A Blessing

1.   Let me draw all this to a head with this:  Are you being a blessing to others?

2.   You've been blessed with God's salvation and all that that entails

3.   We've spent that last 4 weeks looking at all we are on Christ

4.   We've seen that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ

5.   So, are we being a blessing?

6.   By virtue of the New Covenant - we are all priests

7.   Are we putting God's name on others by blessing them?

8.   Are we rightly representing God by blessing and not cursing?

9.   Or are we presenting God by our words, actions, and demeanor as grumpy, stingy, and displeased?

10. In Romans 12:14, the Apostle Paul says,

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

B.  Words

1.   One of the most important means of blessing, in fact the primary way - is through our speech

2.   In his teaching on the power of the tongue, James says in ch. 3

{10}  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  {11}  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?

3.   What is coming from that opening called your mouth?

a.   bitter or fresh?

b.   sour or sweet?

c.   clean or dirty?

d.   blessing or cursing?

4.   Men, do you realize the power of your words with your wives and children?

a.   each day you are either building up your wife and so blessing your marriage, or tearing it and her down

b.   each day you are either making your children's steps into the future more steady and secure, or you are weakening them and destroying their foundation

c.   and it all lies in the power of your tongue

d.   your son can be groomed to great accomplishment, or he can be made to see himself as a failure - it's your choice

e.   your daughter can be nurtured with a healthy security in her relationship with you and a confidence in herself, or she can mature with a vacuum that seeks fulfillment in  relationships with guys who will only use her and then leave her even more empty

f.    for both your son and daughter - it is your words, your blessing of them, that will chart their course through life

g.   this is part and parcel of the authority the Lord has given you as the head of your family

h.   will you use it to bless, or will you neglect it, and so curse those the Lord has entrusted to your charge?

C.  Bless!

1.   God has blessed us, not just so we might selfishly wallow in His favor but so that we might be a blessing

2.   We must learn the lesson of the failure of Israel in her mission

3.   Be a blessing to others!

4.   As you enjoy the favor of God, pour it out

5.   Today, make it your aim and intention to find someone and bless them

6.   And as you do, watch how you sense God's good pleasure as He pours His blessing through you onto others