To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
Would You Pray With Us Today?
2 that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
6 The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!
Is the Gospel Preached Throughout the Earth?
In Psalm 67, the psalmist uses many words related to the whole earth. He speaks repeatedly of “the earth,” “the nations,” and “all the peoples.” All these words are meant to proclaim the salvation of the God who judges the nations and manifests his own righteousness.
In recent years, because of the pandemic and other geopolitical reasons, our focus on globalization has gradually been replaced by a turn toward national security. The Russian-Ukrainian war and the Taiwan Straits crisis have intensified this global confrontation. This seems to contradict what we see in Psalm 67.
Is the gospel really being preached throughout the earth today? The Internet and convenient international transportation have made access to every part of the globe easier – but the secular worldview is spreading faster than the gospel. In many parts of the world, a decline of the Christian population has caused the church to be even more discouraged and marginalized by the wave of globalization. The U.S. election exposed the church’s position as divided and torn between two political parties. Geopolitical conflict has proven: globalization did not bring about the worship of the nations.
False Promises of Globalization
The world’s changing external circumstances over the last few years lead us to reflect: has globalization brought about a revival of evangelism across the world – or just another “Tower of Babel”? In the Bible, each time God performs a mighty works of redemption, human sin also reaches yet another peak. As it was in Scripture, so it will be for us. Until the day of final judgment, the world will hate us, because we do not belong to this world. Our desire to live in comfort has made Christians forget where, exactly, our bodies are.
When this false peace is removed, when we again face turmoil, when we realize the revival of the whole globe was just a delusion: only then can we appreciate the psalmist’s appeal to God in Psalm 67. He said: “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”
How will this happen? Verse 1 says: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” Everything depends upon our sovereign and gracious God. He has mercy on us; he takes the initiative to bless us and shine his face upon us. We are to turn to him, wait on him, and pray.
God Has Begun His Work
At the end of this psalm, verses 6-7 say: “The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”
Previously, in verses 2-5, the psalmist said “may” all the nations worship God. Now, he writes “the earth has yielded its increase.” This is an assurance God has begun to do his work, and shows us the resulting fruit. The psalmist affirms God “will” bless us.
Through the increase of the earth, God assures us he will accomplish his will. We are certain of this, even before our eyes have seen it. Although the world we face today is turbulent and dangerous, we look to the God who led Israel out of Egypt, the God who raised David above his enemies on all sides, and the God who led the apostles to spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire.
For today’s Christians, the greatest proof that “the earth has yielded its increase” is that the Lord Jesus Christ completed his work of redemption on the cross. The Bible tells us he died for our sins and has risen from the dead, triumphing over sin and death. He told us: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Because of God’s mercy and because Christ has overcome the world, we can call out in prayer and praise just as the psalmist did: may all the nations and all the peoples come to praise God. We can believe that, although external circumstances may become worse, God will accomplish his will and establish the work of our hands. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will indeed fear him.
Luke lives in a city in eastern China, and he and his wife have one daughter. He is dedicated to evangelizing urban unbelievers and building Christ-centered churches.
We thank you! You are the Lord, full of mercy and love. Bless us and shine upon us with your face. We confess: we often live in false peace and focus on external peace, forgetting that in Christ we have received true peace. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin and death, nor do we live under your wrath. We hope you will judge all nations according to your justice, and guide the nations of the earth.
May all the nations and all the peoples praise you. Revive our lives, so that by your grace we may proclaim the gospel of your grace in the world. May “your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” May you be glorified among us! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!