Thursday, May 19

Thursday, May 19

Reader: “Let the whole world sing for joy,”

Response: “because you govern the nations with justice 

                       and guide the people of the whole world.”

Scripture: Psalm 67     

May God be merciful and bless us.

    May his face smile with favor on us. Interlude

May your ways be known throughout the earth,

    your saving power among people everywhere.

May the nations praise you, O God.

    Yes, may all the nations praise you.

Let the whole world sing for joy,

    because you govern the nations with justice

    and guide the people of the whole world. Interlude

May the nations praise you, O God.

    Yes, may all the nations praise you.

Then the earth will yield its harvests,

    and God, our God, will richly bless us.

Yes, God will bless us,

    and people all over the world will fear him.

Some thoughts:

The first thing that strikes me is the similarity of the first sentence to the words of the Aaronic blessing. “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. . .” (Numbers 6:24-26) This psalmic prayer is that the nations of the world may notice how God provides, blesses, and takes care of his children Israel. The “us,” which refers to Israel, is mentioned three times, once at the beginning and twice at the end of this psalm. In between there are nine mentions of nations or the whole world or people everywhere.  

The psalm is one of missionary intent with the psalmist expressing his desire that people all over the world would see how God has blessed Israel and join them in praising God praying that he becomes their God. The blessing of Israel is a mirror, a reflection, a testimony of how God governs with justice. The psalmist longs for all the nations of the world to embrace Israel’s God. For when all the world bows to the governance of Yahweh in praise and worship, then there will be a rich harvest and the people of the whole world will fear and revere their God. As a result of the theme of this prayer, Psalm 67 is commonly known as the “Missionary Psalm.”

What might we glean from these beautiful words? One of the ways people are introduced to God is through observation of how he deals with people who are committed to him. The evidence of God’s blessing and working in our lives demonstrate to others around us the compassion, care, and provision God supplies. Our lives are a reflection of God’s grace. 

May God be merciful to you today and bless you. And may you receive a “smile” from God at some point in your day today. What is a God smile? Something that happens totally unexpected which deals very specifically with something you are thinking or doing and the timing is perfect. It’s like, (which is true), God knows exactly where you are and what you are doing, and he’s given you a little blessing. For example, my wife was having trouble figuring out how to download something. She was talking with one of our sons about the frustration so he prayed for her. Five seconds later the solution “popped” into her head! A smile from God!

Music: “Psalm 67”  Charles Ives     Jerusalem Academy Chamber Choir, Israel           composed in 1894

A word about this setting. The women sing in one key (C major)and the men in another (g minor) at the same time (on purpose!) It has some plainchant influence you’ll hear. I’ve always thought this piece kind of represented multiple nations praising God!


Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, and no strength known but the strength of love . . . We pray thee so mightily to shed and spread abroad thy Spirit, that all peoples and ranks may be gathered under one banner, of the Prince of Peace; as children of one God and Father of all; to whom be dominion and glory now and forever. Amen.                       ―Eric Milner-White, (1884-1964) from The Oxford Book of Prayer, p.70