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Psalm 67 commentary

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PSALM 67 COMME TARY
EDITED BY GLE PEASE
For the director of music. With stringed
instruments. A psalm. A song.
I TRODUCTIO...
thanksgiving (Hengstenberg, Cheyne). But the single expression (in Psalms 65:6) on
which this view is grounded seems insuf...
GILL, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us,.... That is, God, of his unmerited
mercy, of his rich grace and free favour,...
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Psalm 67 commentary

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A verse by verse commentary on Psalm 67 dealing with David's prayer that God's face may shine upon us, and that His salvation may be known in all nations. He wants all the nations to praise and fear the God who blesses all.

A verse by verse commentary on Psalm 67 dealing with David's prayer that God's face may shine upon us, and that His salvation may be known in all nations. He wants all the nations to praise and fear the God who blesses all.

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Psalm 67 commentary

  1. 1. PSALM 67 COMME TARY EDITED BY GLE PEASE For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song. I TRODUCTIO SPURGEO , "TITLE. To the Chief Musician. Who he was matters not, and who we may be is also of small consequence, so long as the Lord is glorified. On eginoth, or upon stringed instruments. This is the fifth Psalm so entitled, and no doubt like the others was meant to be sung with the accompaniment of "harpers harping with their harps." o author's name is given, but he would be a bold man who should attempt to prove that David did not write it. We will be hard pushed before we will look for any other author upon whom to father these anonymous odes which lie side by side with those ascribed to David, and wear a family likeness to them. A Psalm or Song. Solemnity and vivacity are here united. A Psalm is a song, but all songs are not Psalms: this is both one and the other. ELLICOTT, "This is a noble hymn of praise, which for its fine and free expression of grateful dependence on the Divine grace was worthy to become, as it has become, a Church hymn for all time. The last two verses connect the hymn immediately with harvest, and it would look as if this allusion had actually been added for some special occasion to what was a general song of praise, since the refrain in Psalms 67:5, besides marking its choral arrangement, indicates what appears to be the proper ending of the psalm. COKE, "Title. ‫למנצח‬ ‫בנגינת‬ ‫מזמור‬ ‫שׁיר‬ lamnatseach bingiinoth mizmor shiir.— We read, 2 Samuel 6:17-18 that when David had brought the ark to Jerusalem, he offered, burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, as promised in the foregoing psalm, Psalms 66:13. And as soon as he had offered them, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord: i.e. as Bishop Patrick supposes, he pronounced this psalm, wherein he manifestly imitates that form of blessing which the priests were appointed to use on solemn occasions, umbers 6:24; umbers 6:27. See Psalms 4:6. PULPIT, "ACCORDI G to some, this psalm, like Psalms 65:1-13, is a harvest
  2. 2. thanksgiving (Hengstenberg, Cheyne). But the single expression (in Psalms 65:6) on which this view is grounded seems insufficient to support it, more especially as that expression may well be understood figuratively (see Psalms 85:12; Jeremiah 8:20; Hosea 6:11; Joel 3:13; Matthew 9:37, etc.). The real idea of the psalm appears to be an aspiration after the general conversion of the world, to be effected by God's special manifestation of his mercy upon Israel. This will draw all nations to him. The psalm is one of three stanzas, consisting respectively of two, two, and three verses. The second and third stanzas have the same initiatory refrain (Psalms 65:3, Psalms 65:5). In the first stanza the "selah" is a pause of reverence, not a break in the sense. 1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—[b] BAR ES, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us - There is, perhaps (as Prof. Alexander suggests), an allusion, in the language used here, to the sacerdotal benediction in Num_6:24-26 : “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.” The prayer is that God would bestow upon his people the blessing implied in the form of benediction which he had directed the ministers of his religion to use. The first cry is, of course, for mercy or favor. The beginning of all blessings to mankind is the favor or mercy of God. There is no higher blessing than his favor; there is none that comes from him which should not be regarded as mercy. And cause his face to shine upon us - Margin, With us. That is, among us. It is an invocation of his presence and favor. On the phrase “cause his face to shine,” see the notes at Psa_4:6. CLARKE, "God be merciful unto us - Show the Jewish people thy mercy, bless them in their bodies and souls and give a full evidence of thy approbation. This is nearly the same form of blessing as that used Num_6:25 (note), where see the notes.
  3. 3. GILL, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us,.... That is, God, of his unmerited mercy, of his rich grace and free favour, bless us with the coming of his Son, the promised seed, in whom all nations are to be blessed; and with the blessings of peace, pardon, and righteousness in him; all which with him spring from the tender mercy of God, the riches of his grace, and his great love; than which nothing could be more desirable to the Old Testament saints, who were shut up under the law, until faith came; and though children, they differed nothing from servants, being in a state and under a spirit of bondage: for the psalmist seems to represent the whole church under that dispensation: some understand the words as a prophecy, expressing the certainty of what would be; and, as the words may be rendered, "God will be merciful", or "gracious to us (k), and he will bless us"; as he has promised to do; and cause his face to shine upon us; that is, grant his gracious presence, and the discoveries of his love; that he would favour with communion with himself through Christ, and a greater knowledge of him in him; or that he would cause him, who is his face, his image, the brightness of his glory, to appear and shine forth; the great light, the sun of righteousness, and dayspring from on high, that was to arise and shine upon the people of God. The Targum is, "and cause the splendour of his face to shine with us always;'' there seems to be some reference to the high priest's form of blessing in Num_6:24. HE RY, "The composition of this psalm is such as denotes the penman's affections to have been very warm and lively, by which spirit of devotion he was elevated to receive the spirit of prophecy concerning the enlargement of God's kingdom. I. He begins with a prayer for the welfare and prosperity of the church then in being, in the happiness of which he should share, and think himself happy, Psa_67:1. Our Saviour, in teaching us to say, Our Father, has intimated that we ought to pray with and for others; so the psalmist here prays not, God be merciful to me, and bless me, but to us, and bless us; for we must make supplication for all saints, and be willing and glad to take our lot with them. We are here taught, 1. That all our happiness comes from God's mercy and takes rise in that; and therefore the first thing prayed for is, God be merciful to us, to us sinners, and pardon our sins (Luk_18:13), to us miserable sinners, and help us out of our miseries. 2. That it is conveyed by God's blessing, and secured in that: God bless us; that is, give us an interest in his promises, and confer upon us all the good contained in them. God's speaking well to us amounts to his doing well for us. God bless us is a comprehensive prayer; it is a pity such excellent words should ever be used slightly and carelessly, and as a byword. 3. That it is completed in the light of his countenance: God cause his face to shine upon us; that is, God by his grace qualify us for his favour and then give us the tokens of his favour. We need desire no more to make us happy than to have God's face shine upon us, to have God love us, and let us know that he loves us: To shine with us (so the margin reads it); with us doing our endeavour, and let it crown that endeavour with success. If we by faith walk with God, we may hope that his face will shine with us. JAMISO , "Psa_67:1-7. A prayer that, by God’s blessing on His people, His salvation
  4. 4. and praise may be extended over the earth. cause his face to shine — show us favor (Num_6:24, Num_6:25; Psa_31:16). K&D, "The Psalm begins (Psa_67:1) with words of the priest's benediction in Num_ 6:24-26. By ‫נוּ‬ ָ ִ‫א‬ the church desires for itself the unveiled presence of the light-diffusing loving countenance of its God. Here, after the echo of the holiest and most glorious benediction, the music strikes in. With Psa_67:2 the Beracha passes over into a Tephilla. ‫ת‬ ַ‫ע‬ ַ‫ד‬ ָ‫ל‬ is conceived with the most general subject: that one may know, that may be known Thy way, etc. The more graciously God attests Himself to the church, the more widely and successfully does the knowledge of this God spread itself forth from the church over the whole earth. They then know His ְ‫ך‬ ֶ‫ר‬ ֶ , i.e., the progressive realization of His counsel, and His ‫ה‬ ָ‫שׁוּע‬ְ‫,י‬ the salvation at which this counsel aims, the salvation not of Israel merely, but of all mankind. CALVI , "1God be merciful unto us, and bless us The psalm contains a prediction of Christ’s kingdom, under which the whole world was to be adopted into a privileged relationship with God; but the Psalmist begins by praying for the Divine blessing, particularly upon the Jews. They were the first-born, (Exodus 4:22,) and the blessing was to terminate upon them first, and then go out to all the surrounding nations. I have used the imperative mood throughout the psalm, as other translators have done, although the future tense, which is that employed in the Hebrew, would suit sufficiently well, and the passage might be understood as encouraging the minds of the Lord’s people to trust in the continuance and increase of the Divine favor. The words, however, are generally construed in the form of a prayer, and I merely threw out this as a suggestion. Speaking, as the Psalmist does, of those who belonged to the Church of God, and not of those who were without, it is noticeable that yet he traces all the blessings they received to God’s free favor; and from this we may learn, that so long as we are here, we owe our happiness, our success, and prosperity, entirely to the same cause. This being the case, how shall any think to anticipate his goodness by merits of their own? The light of God’s countenance may refer either to the sense of his love shed abroad in our hearts, or to the actual manifestation of it without, as, on the other hand, his face may be said to be clouded, when he strikes terrors into our conscience on account of our sins, or withdraws the outward marks of his favor. SPURGEO , "Ver. 1. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us. This is a fit refrain to the benediction of the High Priest in the name of the Lord, as recorded in umbers 6:24-25. "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee." It begins at the beginning with a cry for mercy. Forgiveness of sin is always the first link in the chain of mercies experienced by us. Mercy is a foundation attribute in our salvation. The best saints and the worst sinners may unite in this petition. It is addressed to the God of mercy, by those who feel their need of mercy, and it implies the death of all
  5. 5. legal hopes or claims of merit. ext, the church begs for a blessing; bless us --a very comprehensive and far reaching prayer. When we bless God we do but little, for our blessings are but words, but when God blesses he enriches us indeed, for his blessings are gifts and deeds. But his blessing alone is not all his people crave, they desire a personal consciousness of his favour, and pray for a smile from his face. These three petitions include all that we need here or hereafter. This verse may be regarded as the prayer of Israel, and spiritually of the Christian church. The largest charity is shown in this Psalm, but it begins at home. The whole church, each church, and each little company, may rightly pray, bless us. It would, however, be very wrong to let our charity end where it begins, as some do; our love must make long marches, and our prayers must have a wide sweep, we must embrace the whole world in our intercessions. Selah. Lift up the heart, lift up the voice. A higher key, a sweeter note is called for. EXPLA ATORY OTES A D QUAI T SAYI GS Whole Psalm. How admirably balanced are the parts of this missionary song! The people of God long to see all the nations participating in their privileges, "visited with God's salvation, and gladdened with the gladness of his nation" (Psalms 106:5). They long to hear all the nationalities giving thanks to the Lord, and hallowing his name; to see the face of the whole earth, which sin has darkened so long, smiling with the brightness of a second Eden. This is not a vapid sentiment. The desire is so expressed as to connect with it the thought of duty and responsibility. For how do they expect that the happy times are to be reached? They trust, in the first instance, to the general diffusion of the knowledge of God's way, the spreading abroad of the truth regarding the way of salvation. With a view to that, they cry for a time of quickening from the presence of the Lord, and take encouragement in this prayer from the terms of the divinely appointed benediction. As if they had said, "Hast thou not commanded the sons of Aaron to put thy name upon us, and to say: The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord cause his face to shine on thee and be gracious to thee? Remember that sure word of thine. God be gracious unto us and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us. Let us be thus blessed, and we shall in our turn become a blessing. All the families of the earth shall, through us, become acquainted with thy salvation." Such is the church's expectation. And who shall say it is unreasonable? If the little company of a hundred and twenty disciples who met in the upper chamber at Jerusalem, all of them persons of humble station, and inconspicuous talents, were endued with such power by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that within three hundred years the paganism of the empire was overthrown, one need not fear to affirm that, in order to the evangelisation of the world, nothing more is required than that the churches of Christendom be baptised with a fresh effusion of the same Spirit of power. William Binnie. Whole Psalm. There are seven stanzas; twice three two line stanzas, having one of three lines in the middle, which forms the clasp or spangle of the septiad, a circumstance which is strikingly appropriate to the fact that the psalm is called "the Old Testament Paternoster" in some of the old expositors. Franz Delitzsch. Ver. 1. God be merciful unto us, and bless us, etc. God forgives, then he gives; till he be merciful to pardon our sins through Christ, he cannot bless or look kindly on us sinners. All our enjoyments are but blessings in bullion, till gospel grace and pardoning mercy stamp and make them current. God cannot so much as bear any
  6. 6. good will to us, till Christ makes peace for us; "On earth peace, good will toward men." Lu 2:14. And what joy can a sinner take, though it were to hear of a kingdom fallen to him, if he may not have it with God's good will. William Gurnall. Ver. 1. God be merciful unto us. Hugo attributes these words to penitents; Bless us, to those setting out in the Christian life; Cause his face to shine upon us, to those who have attained, or the sanctified. The first seek for pardon, the second for justifying peace, the third for edification and the grace of contemplation. Lorinus. Ver. 1-2. Connect the last clause of Psalms 67:1 with the first of Psalms 67:2, and observe that God made his face to shine upon Moses, and made known to him his way. "He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel, "as if the common people could only see the deeds of the Lord, but his way, his plans, his secrets were revealed only to him upon whom the light of God's face had shone. C. H. S. ELLICOTT,"(1) This verse is an adaptation of the priestly benediction ( umbers 6:24-26). Upon us.—Rather, with, or among us; a variation from the formal benediction. BE SO , "Psalms 67:1-2. God be merciful to us — Thy people Israel. And cause his face to shine upon us — As thou hast hid thy face, or withdrawn the tokens of thy favour from us, so do thou now manifest them to us. That thy way may be known upon earth — The way wherein thou requirest men to walk, the way of thy precepts, the way of truth, or the true religion; that by the peculiar and distinguishing tokens of thy favour to us, the heathen world may be convinced of the truth and importance of our religion, may be induced to renounce their idols and their vices, to believe in thee the only living and true God, and embrace thy worship and service, expecting no good but from thee. Thy saving health — Hebrew, ‫,ישׁועתְך‬ thy salvation, termed, God’s way, in the preceding clause, and both expressions, taken together, signify the way of salvation, which the psalmist desires may be known among all nations. This the ancient and godly Jews expected would be the case at the coming of the Messiah, who is called God’s salvation, and also the way, the truth, and the life, Luke 2:30 ; John 14:6. And so the sense of the passage is, Deal thus graciously with thy people Israel, that the Gentile world may at last be allured to unite themselves to them, to become proselytes to their religion, and receive their Messiah for their King and Saviour, when he shall be manifested, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you, Zechariah 8:23. PULPIT,"God be merciful unto us, and bless us. An echo of the priestly blessing ( umbers 6:24, umbers 6:25), but not necessarily uttered by a priest. The substitution of Elohim for Jehovah is natural, considering the universalist character of the psalm. And cause his face to shine upon us; literally, with us. "With us" especially, as the people of God; but not "with us" exclusively, as the whole psalm makes manifest. COFFMA , "PROPHECY OF THE SALVATIO OF THE GE TILES
  7. 7. SUPERSCRIPTIO : FOR THE CHIEF MUSICIA ; O STRI GED I STRUME TS. A PSALM; A SO G. This is another of the psalms designated in the superscriptions as both "A Psalm," and "A Song." We have noticed a definite universalism in all of them; and here, we have an unequivocal prophecy of the conversion of Gentiles. We are absolutely astounded that so many of the scholars we have consulted seem totally unaware of this. Just note what is here stated: God will cause his way to be known upon earth, his salvation among all nations (Psalms 67:2). Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee (Psalms 67:3). (peoples = Gentiles) (also Psalms 67:5). Oh let the nations (Gentiles) be glad and sing for joy (Psalms 67:4). Thou wilt judge the peoples (Gentiles) with equity (Psalms 67:4). Thou wilt govern (or lead) the nations (Gentiles) upon earth (Psalms 67:4). Let all the peoples (Gentiles) praise thee (Psalms 67:5). And all the ends of the earth shall fear him (Psalms 67:7)."SIZE> It would be impossible to write a more positive and dogmatic prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles than we have right here. Every single verse in this little jewel of a psalm affirms it, the lone exception being Psalms 67:6, where it is stated that. "The earth has yielded its increase," but we do not believe that even that verse refers merely to a harvest. By metonymy, the earth in that verse stands for all the populations of mankind; and the meaning is that God shall eventually reap the pre- determined number of the redeemed from among all the sons of earth. For these all-sufficient reasons, therefore, we reject the titles bestowed on this psalm such as: "Harvest Thanksgiving Song,"[1] "A Harvest Thanksgiving at the Feast of Tabernacles,"[2] "A Hymn of Thanksgiving,"[3] "A Harvest Thanksgiving,"[4] etc. Furthermore, a few, more acceptable titles have also been assigned, such as, "The Spreading Circle,"[5] "May the Peoples Praise thee, O God,"[6] or "Hope that the ations will Praise the God of Israel." However, this psalm is not merely the expression of "a hope" of Gentile acceptance of Israel's God, or a devout wish that the nations may also praise God, it is a dogmatic prophecy that:
  8. 8. God will judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations upon the earth (Psalms 67:4). Regarding the popular view that receives this psalm as some kind of a harvest song, Rawlinson noted that: "The single expression (in Psalms 67:6) upon which this view is founded seems insufficient to support it, more especially as that expression may be well understood figuratively."[7] In fact Psalms 67:6 demands the figurative interpretation which we assigned to it above. In our search for a scholarly opinion with which we find full agreement, it finally was found in the introduction to this chapter by Matthew Henry. Here is first a prayer for the conversion of the Gentiles and the bringing of them into the church. Then the psalmist is carried by the spirit of prophecy to foretell the glorious estate of the Christian church, in which Jews and Gentiles should unite in one flock.[8] Psalms 67:1-7 "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 salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For thou wilt judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations upon earth. (Selah) Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee. The earth hath yielded its increase: God, even our God, will bless us.
  9. 9. God will bless us; And all the ends of the earth shall fear him." "God be merciful ... bless us ... cause his face to shine upon us, etc." (Psalms 67:1). As Addis noted, "This Psalm is an expansion of the Aaronic blessing of umbers 6:24-26."[9] This short psalm is further shortened in meaning by the verbatim repetition of Psalms 67:3 in Psalms 67:5. There is not much we can add by way of interpretation to that which we have already stated above. This great prophecy of the reception of the Gentiles into the government of God, along with the Jews, is fully as clear and specific as those great Old Testament passages which the apostle Paul quoted in Romans 9-10, such as Hosea 1:10; 2:23; Isaiah 28:16; Deuteronomy 32:21; and Isaiah 65:1-2. Despite such dogmatic, specific prophecies as this and many other passages of the Old Testament, racial Israel never seemed to catch on to the fact that God Almighty desired the salvation of any one else on earth except themselves. In time the racial nation grew totally apart from the true "seed of Abraham," and viewed with the utmost contempt the whole Gentile world. o better illustration of this can be found than the example of Jonah, who preferred death itself to witnessing the conversion of ineveh; and when it finally happened in spite of him, the attitude of Israel was such that he never dared to return to his native land, finally being buried in ineveh. This says in tones of thunder that his instrumentality in the conversion of ineveh was sufficient grounds for his becoming thereby "persona non grata" forevermore in his native Israel. (See a full discussion of this in Vol. 1 of my minor prophets Series, pp. 341-352.) CO STABLE, "1. God"s grace to His people67:1-2 The psalmist began by repeating part of Israel"s priestly blessing (cf. umbers 6:24-26) to request God"s favor on His people. Causing one"s face to shine on others means smiling on them with favor and approval (cf. Psalm 4:6). The writer requested God"s blessing on Israel so that other nations would learn of His favor, turn to Him in faith, and experience His salvation themselves (v2). This is another song that exhorts the nations to praise God that an unknown psalmist penned. Its theme is similar to that of Psalm 66. "If a psalm was ever written round the promises to Abraham, that he would be both blessed and made a blessing, it could well have been such as this. The song begins at
  10. 10. home, and returns to pause there a moment before the end; but its thought always flies to the distant peoples and to what awaits them when the blessing that has reached "us" reaches all." [ ote: Kidner, p236.] "The evidence for the early date of the psalm challenges the critical supposition that Israel"s missionary outlook developed after the Exile. Clearly the psalm is a missionary Psalm , since it looks forward to the rule of God over Jews and Gentiles (cf. Acts 28:28)." [ ote: VanGemeren, p440.] EXPOSITORS DICTIO ARY OF TEXTS, "Psalm 67:1-2 I. There is strong connexion between health and happiness—between the shining of the heart and the soundness of the body. The connexion is more seen in the prevention than in the cure of disease. When an illness has actually mastered us it is usually vain to say, "Keep up your spirits". The tendency of illness is to keep down the spirits. This is suggested in the book of Job. Why does the Satan of the drama, after overwhelming Job by poverty and bereavement, ask leave to afflict him with ill-health. It is because, while poverty and bereavement make us prostrate, ill-health keeps us prostrate, prevents us from seeing the actual sunbeams which remain. II. But it is as a safeguard from sickness rather than a cure of sickness that the study of sunbeams is valuable. When the body is laid low, all the light and music in the world may fail to raise it; but a very little light and music might have prevented its prostration. It is where the salt of life has lost its savour that the body is trodden down; but where the savour of life is enjoyed there is a bodyguard. III. ow, the Psalmist says that religion has a medical value. He says that everywhere—"Among all nations"—it tends to preserve health. It does so because it furnishes a sunbeam to the heart. It gives a promise of good fortune to come. A promise of coming good fortune brings a flood of mental energy, and that is converted into bodily energy. The worries that make us physically weak are almost entirely occupied with the future, whether of this world or other worlds. The sting of poverty is the thought of tomorrow. The sting of bereavement is the cloud beyond death. The sting of conscience is the doubt of our qualification for heaven. And if our worries are generally about the future, they can have no panacea like religion. Religion alone can make a heart confident about the future. Human effort may in a measure redeem the past; human toil may provide much for the present; but only the sense of God can gild my future. It is no mere metaphor when the Bible calls God "The health of my countenance," for the cares that ruffle the body are not the troubles of today but the troubles of tomorrow, and nothing can alleviate the troubles of tomorrow but the shining face of God. —G. Matheson, Messages of Hope, p101. EBC, "Psalms 67:1-7 THIS little psalm condenses the dominant thought of the two preceding into a series
  11. 11. of aspirations after Israel’s blessing, and the consequent diffusion of the knowledge of God’s way among all lands. Like Psalms 65:1-13, it sees in abundant harvests a type and witness of God’s kindness. But, whereas in Psalms 65:1-13 the fields were covered with corn, here the increase has been gathered in. The two psalms may or may not be connected in date of composition as closely as these two stages of one harvest time. The structure of the psalm has been variously conceived. Clearly the Selahs do not guide as to divisions in the flow of thought. But it may be noted that the seven verses in the psalm have each two clauses, with the exception of the middle one (Psalms 67:4), which has three. Its place and its abnormal length mark it as the core, round which, as it were, the whole is built up. Further, it is as if encased in two verses (Psalms 67:3, Psalms 67:5), which, in their four clauses, are a fourfold repetition of a single aspiration. These three verses are the heart of the psalm-the desire that all the earth may praise God, whose providence blesses it all. They are again enclosed in two strophes of two verses each (Psalms 67:1-2 and Psalms 67:6-7), which, like the closer wrapping round the core, are substantially parallel and, unlike it, regard God’s manifestation to Israel as His great witness to the world. Thus, working outwards from the central verse, we have symmetry of structure, and intelligible progress and distinctness of thought. Another point of difficulty is the rendering of the series of verbs in the psalm. Commentators are unanimous in taking those of Psalms 67:1 as expressions of desire; but they bewilderingly diverge in their treatment of the following ones. Details of the divergent interpretations, or discussions of their reasons, cannot be entered on here. It may be sufficient to say that the adherence throughout to the optative rendering, admitted by all in Psalms 67:1, gives a consistent colouring to the whole. It is arbitrary to vary the renderings in so short a psalm. But, as is often the case, the aspirations are so sure of their correspondence with the Divine purpose that they tremble on the verge of being prophecies, as, indeed, all wishes that go out along the line of God’s "way" are. Every deep, God-inspired longing whispers to its utterer assurance that so it shall be; and therefore such desires have ever in them an element of fruition, and know nothing of the pain of earthly wishes. They who stretch out empty hands to God never "gather dust and chaff." The priestly blessing [ umbers 6:24-26] moulds Psalms 67:1, but with the substitution of God for Jehovah, and of "among us" for "upon us." The latter variation gives an impression of closer contact of men with the lustre of that Divine Light, and of yet greater condescension in God. The soul’s longing is not satisfied by even the fullest beams of a Light that is fixed on high; it dares to wish. for the stooping of the Sun to dwell among its. The singer speaks in the name of the nation; and, by using the priestly formula, claims for the whole people the sacerdotal dignity which belonged to it by its original constitution. He gives that idea its widest extension, Israel is the world’s high priest, lifting up intercessions and holy hands of benediction for mankind. What self-effacement, and what profound insight into and sympathy with the mind of God breathe in that collocation of desires, in which the gracious lustre of God’s face shining on us is longed for, chiefly that thence it may
  12. 12. be reflected into the dark places of earth, to gladden sad and seeking eyes! This psalmist did not know in how true a sense the Light would come to dwell among men of Israel’s race, and thence to flood the world; but his yearning is a foreshadowing of the spirit of Christianity, which forbids self-regarding monopoly of its blessings. If a man is "light in the Lord," he cannot but shine. "God hath shined into our hearts, that we may give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God." A Church illuminated with a manifestly Divine light is the best witness for God. Eyes which cannot look on the Sun may gaze at the clouds, which tone down its colourless radiance into purple and gold. The central core of the psalm may either be taken as summons to the nations or as expression of desire for them. The depth of the longing or the stringency of the summons is wonderfully given by that fourfold repetition of the same words in Psalms 67:3 and Psalms 67:5, with the emphatic "all of them" in the second clause of each. ot less significant is the use of three names for the aggregations of men- nations (Psalms 67:2), peoples, and tribes. All are included, whatever bond knits them in communities, whatever their societies call themselves, however many they are. The very vagueness gives sublimity and universality. We can fill the vast outline drawn by these sweeping strokes; and wider knowledge should not be attended with narrowed desires, nor feebler confidence that the Light shall lighten every land. It is noticeable that in this central portion the deeds of God among the nations are set forth as the ground of their praise and joy in Him. Israel had the light of His face, and that would draw men to Him. But all peoples have the strength of His arm to be their defender, and the guidance of His hand by providences and in other ways unrecognised by them. The "judgments" here contemplated are, of course, not retribution for evil, but the aggregate of dealings by which God shows His sovereignty in all the earth. The psalmist does not believe that God’s goodness has been confined to Israel, nor that the rest of the world has been left orphaned. He agrees with Paul, "That which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God manifested it to them." GUZIK, "Psalm 67 - A Missionary Psalm This Psalm has a heart to see Gods way, Gods salvation, and Gods praise extended all through the earth. A. A request and reason for blessing. 1. (1) A request for blessing. God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah
  13. 13. a. God be merciful to us and bless us: The words come from the Aaronic Blessing of umbers 6:24-26, where the High Priest of Israel would pronounce this beautiful blessing upon the people. b. God be merciful to us: The Psalmist first knew his need for mercy. This sets our heart in the right frame of mind; sinners who need the mercy of God. One may need more mercy than another, but we all need mercy. i. The best saints and the worst sinners may unite in this petition. (Spurgeon) c. And bless us: Beyond the mercy of God which He could show simply by leaving us alone, by not destroying us we want God to bless us also. Can you imagine a guilty criminal before a judge, pleading for mercy, and receiving it and then asking for a blessing! But Gods love towards us is that great. d. And cause His face to shine upon us: To have the glorious, happy face of God shining upon man is the greatest gift one could have. To know that as God looks upon you, He is well pleased - not because of who you are, or what you have done, but because you are in Jesus Christ - there is no greater source of peace and power in life. i. Why should he fret when God smiles? What matters though all the world should censure, if Jehovah countenances his servant. A look of approval from God creates a deep, delightful calm within the soul. (Spurgeon) e. Selah: The idea in the Hebrew for this word (occurring 74 times in the Old Testament) is for a pause. Most people think it speaks of a reflective pause, a pause to meditate on the words just spoken. It may also be a musical instruction, for a musical interlude of some kind. i. Think about the greatness of Gods mercy, Gods blessing, and the approval of Gods shining face. These three petitions include all that we need here or hereafter. (Spurgeon) LA GE, "Analysis of Contents.—Since the Hebrew tenses are capable of many references to time, it would be admissible to regard Psalm 67:3; Psalm 67:5 as statements respecting the praise of God by all nations, which had already occurred (De Wette), which fact would then admit of various explanations in accordance with
  14. 14. its value and reality, as well as with respect to its reasons and its significance. The same remarks apply to the final clause in which the fear of God takes the place of His praise. We might likewise find in the harvest mentioned by the perfect as finished ( Psalm 67:6 a), a statement of the fact of the blessing ( Psalm 67:6 b), and the pledge of its continuance ( Psalm 67:7 a). The latter reference Isaiah, however, for the Israelites, contained in the fruits of the harvest ( Leviticus 26:4), and it would be more in accordance with the tone of the prayer to find in these words the expression of a wish for the continuance of universal blessings, this wish having originated from the recent appropriation of the pledge resting upon Divine promises. This interpretation is still further recommended by the fact that in the two lines, Psalm 67:6 b and7a, the same tense is used as in Psalm 67:1 a, where the optative is certainly meant, since there is there indeed not an answer of the people (J. D. Mich, Stier), but an appropriationand free repetition of the blessing of the High Priest, umbers 4:24 sq. When now Psalm 67:2 puts this blessing of Israel in direct relation to the making known God’s ways and the salvation (‫ָה‬‫ע‬‫ְשׁוּ‬‫י‬) therein to be obtained by deliverance, it is much more natural to give the words which follow, a Messianic reference in the universal sense, which is contained in the blessing of Abraham ( Genesis 12:3), and to recognize the missionary character of this Psalm, which appears likewise in the hymn of Luther: “Es woll’ uns Gott, genädig sein,” than merely to find here a manifestation of the goodness of God in general, and a lyrical transition from the national to the universal stand—point, embracing mankind (Hupfeld), in which God, in accordance with the nature of Monotheism, is designated as the object of the praise and reverence likewise of the heathen. In this state of the case, likewise, it is most natural to regard Psalm 67:3 sq. as optative, and only to let the final clause conclude with the future. For thus the clauses, which constantly implore, in believing appropriation, the blessings promised and bestowed, are entwined with those which proclaim and wish for, in accordance with the promises and in the joy of faith, the salvation to be obtained through the blessings in Israel, and praise of God among the heathen. Thus there is formed a chain; the end of which not merely bends back towards the beginning, but has partly an internal progress, partly opens an infinite prospect. Hence the spiritual interpretation of the fruitfulness of the earth, (Luther, Stier, after the older interpreters) seems to be arbitrary. We are to think of a blessed harvest, which we have reason to consider not merely as an occasion for the composition of the Psalm (Kôster, Ewald, Hitzig), but at the same time as an occasion for far—reaching thoughts, (Calvin, Hengst.), and as the pledge of more (Venema, J. H. Mich.), if not the type of higher blessings (Stier). The attempts to put the composition in the time of the Maccabees (Olsh, Hitzig), or the restoration of the kingdom after the exile (Ewald), or after the deliverance from the Assyrians under Hezekiah (Venema, and Von Leng.), are entirely without proofs and support. Str. I. Psalm 67:1. Cause His face to shine among us.—The change of the phrase “upon thee,” ( umbers 6:25) into “among us” is connected on the one side with the entire appropriation of the blessing of the High Priest, on the other side with the purpose directly expressed, which latter is already prepared by the change of Jehovah into Elohim, and appears as the principal thought of the Psalm by the transition from the indirect to the direct discourse. The expression: among or with
  15. 15. us, accordingly does not indicate the nearness of the help (Geier), but the accompanying (Hengst.), or better, the guiding presence of God. PULPIT, "Psalms 67:1, Psalms 67:2 God be merciful, etc. o wonder this beautiful little psalm has been enshrined so prominently in the worship of the Christian Church. Its most remarkable character is its world wide breadth of sympathy, hope, and prayer. It is like a beam from the unrisen sun of Christianity. The more one studies the intense narrow national sentiment of the Jews, the more plain is it that strains like these could be inspired only by the Spirit of God. The psalm is Hebrew of the Hebrews—sung probably for ages in the temple. Yet its aspirations can be fulfilled only by the gospel and kingdom of Christ. I. THE MEA I G OF THIS PRAYER. "That thy way may be known"—"thy saving health." 1. God's way is: 2. God's "saving health" is salvation (simply another translation of the same Hebrew word). ot simply "the way of salvation"—the knowledge of the gospel, and provision for our salvation; but actual experience of deliverance from sin, pardon, peace with God, strength for holiness. Salvation, in the Scriptures, means both safety and health. Illust.: Matthew 8:25; Luke 18:42; Luke 7:50. II. THE SCOPE OF THIS PRAYER. "On earth;" "among all nations." St. Paul says that the gospel was preached beforehand to Abraham, in the promise that in his offspring all nations should be blessed. We are apt to take too narrow a view both of the gospel and of salvation. We think and speak of "saving souls." That is the beginning; for there is no reconciliation to God but by personal repentance, faith, turning to God. But nations have their life; their collective action, righteousness, guilt, growth, decay, prosperity, ruin. Knowledge of God's truth, and obedience to God's law, are the conditions of national welfare. We have a message to "all nations" as well as to "every creature." We are to labour as well as pray, that God's will may be "done on earth, as it is in heaven.' HOMILIES BY W. FORSYTH Psalms 67:1-7 This is a song of salvation. It teaches that— I. SALVATIO IS FROM GOD. Hence God's mercy is specially invoked. It is as God causes his face to shine upon us in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6) that his
  16. 16. "way" is made known, and his "salvation" enjoyed (Psalms 67:1, Psalms 67:2). II. SALVATIO IS THE HIGHEST BLESSI G FOR MA . When the high priest blessed the people, he spoke for God ( umbers 6:22-27). Salvation is "saving health." Man is corrupt. There is no "soundness" in him. But God brings healing. Salvation is to be restored to health in body and soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). III. SALVATIO IS IMPARTED THROUGH HUMA AGE CY. God works by means. He uses man to help man. "The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17; cf. Romans 5:12-15). When we believe on Christ, we may say, with Simeon, "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation" (Luke 2:30). And what Christ has won for us he would have us make known to others. All Christians are missionaries. "God does with us as we with torches do." Every lamp that is lighted is lighted in order to shine. We are to receive and reflect the light (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8; Matthew 5:16). IV. SALVATIO IS DESTI ED TO SPREAD AMO G ALL ATIO S. It was not limited to Israel. There is no exclusiveness in the gospel. There is no brand of reprobation on any man's brow. The salvation of Christ is for all people—the Jew first, but also for all men. "The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2). This we have seen in part, and greater fulfilments are near. Paul could say (Romans 15:19), "From Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." But how great has been the advance since then! ations that Paul never knew have heard the joyful sound, and the most distant isles of the sea have been blessed in Christ. V. SALVATIO WILL ULTIMATELY FILL THE EARTH WITH JOY A D PEACE. Harvest is the time of joy. The great harvest-home of the world is coming (Isaiah 2:2, Isaiah 2:3; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 14:16).—W.F. BI 1-7, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us. Illumining the life Let us mark the two extremes of the psalm. It begins with “God be merciful unto us,” and it ends with “Then shall the earth yield her increase.” There is some mysterious but very real connection between the fertility of nature and the character of man. Nature is not to reach her consummation until man himself is at his best. “God be merciful unto us.” That is where human possibility begins, in the mercy of God. But this word “mercy” has grown very thin by common usage, and in ordinary currency it has lost much of its essential worth. We too often interpret it from the standpoint of the magisterial bondage, and it becomes significant of the summary dismissal of an action, and the release of the prisoner. We shall never really understand the inner content of the Scriptural word until we get far away from the court of law. It is infinitely more than a cold acquittal. The innermost element of the word is suggestive of “stooping,” the stronger bending toward the weak. “And bless us.” And what shall we say of this great word? There is no commoner word to be found in the speech of prayer. Now, perhaps I can best suggest the inconceivable wealth of the word if I say that it includes all the many
  17. 17. significances of the English words beginning with “bone.” Let my hearers take these words, and apply every one of them to the ministry of the Almighty, and they will obtain a glimpse and a hint of the manifold meaning of the blessing of God. Take the word “benevolence,” and the word “benediction,” and the word “benefaction,” and then let the single colours mingle, and the result will give us some faint conception of the benefits of the Lord. “Cause Thy face to shine upon us.” It is a plea for the light of God’s presence. It is a prayer that He would “countenance” our goings out and our comings in. It is “to walk all day beneath Thy smile.” It is more than that. When the light of the Lord’s countenance falls upon us we, too, become illumined. “They looked unto Him and were lightened.” That is to say, they were lit up! Their faces caught the glory of the Lord, as I have seen a cottage window shining with the reflected radiance of the sun. These, then, are the three great preliminaries in the making of a noble life, which shall witness to the power of the King. We are to receive the mercy of God, and the blessing of God, and the shining presence of God. And what is the purpose of it all when these gifts have been received? “That Thy way may be known upon earth.” That is the purpose of it. All these earlier phrases have described the making of the Lord’s witness, and now we are told what is to be the ministry of the witness. We are lit up in order that we may reveal the Lord. We are to be illumined in order that men may see our God. “That Thy way may be known upon earth.” We are to make known the Lord’s beaten tracks, His manners, His modes of action, His course of life. Men are to see our beauty, and through it discern the Lord’s habits. “And Thy saving health among all nations.” Our healed life is to be the witness of the Great Physician’s power of healing. If I may reverently say it, the radiance of our character is to advertise the glory of the Lord. What are the signs that the witness is effective, and that the saving health is become pervasive? “Let the people praise Thee, O God.” That would be the first token of an effective ministry. Thy people will begin to praise. They will fall into the attitude of reverent worship. “Let the nations be glad.” That is to be the next step in the noble sequence. The people are to be brightened, cheered up, made merry I They are to become optimistic in their hopes, and full of encouragement in their speech. “Then shall the earth yield her increase.” I do not wonder at it. As I have already said, in the opening of this meditation, we shall have finer gardens when we are finer men. The field will put on richer garments when we are clothed in white robes. (J. H. Jowett, M. A.) The greatest need of foreign missions The psalm was intended, commentators tell us, for some great temple festival, possibly the Feast of Tabernacles, in a year of exceptional increase. But what strikes me as I read it is its universal note. There is nothing local, particular, or Jewish about it. The psalm is as much at home in the Christian Church as in the Jewish Temple, as much at home centuries after Christ as it was centuries before He came. I. The first remark I wish to make is that this psalm, in the scope and sweep of its petitions, supplies us with a pattern and example for our prayers. “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us.” That is how the psalm begins. The psalmist’s first thought is for his own people, for his own kindred, according to the flesh. But that is not where the psalm ends. In the very next verse the horizon recedes, the outlook broadens, the national need gives Way to the universal need. He has scarcely offered up his prayer for his nation before his compassions are running out to the countries beyond, and in the very next breath he is interceding for all nations and for the wide earth. There is nothing local, there is nothing exclusive about this prayer. The psalmist overleaps all national boundaries, and brings the wide world before God. He
  18. 18. has all Christ’s passion for those other sheep which are not of the Jewish fold. He has all Paul’s desire that the Gospel may be preached to those who have not heard it. True prayer is always world-wide and universal. It is right to begin where this prayer begins— at home; it is not right to finish there. You must enlarge the scope of your petitions, and you must not rest till you have brought the “ends of the earth” before God. I pity the man who in his prayers never gets beyond “God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us”; for he has simply not learned the elements of prayer. For that is a marred prayer, a narrow prayer, and a selfish prayer. And whatever Christianity is or is not, it is the very antithesis of selfishness. “Let this mind be in you,” said the apostle, “which was also in Christ Jesus.” What was the mind that was in Christ Jesus? It was an unselfish mind. Our Lord was always thinking about other people. His thought travelled far beyond His own kindred to those peoples lying in ignorance and sin; to all the millions who lived without God and without hope. Am I wrong in thinking that, speaking generally, Christian people do not possess our Lord’s wide-world outlook, that our affections are cramped by national and racial differences, that we do not realize that men everywhere are the loved of God, the redeemed of Christ, and that we do not pant and yearn for their enlightenment and salvation as our Lord did? Some do, I know. David Brainerd—his enthusiastic spirit had no rest in his passion for prayer for his Indians. This lack of concern for the salvation of the world results in parochial and narrow and selfish prayers. “God be merciful unto us, and bless us”—we begin there, and there oftentimes we finish. None of Christ’s melting passion for the “other sheep” creeps into our prayers. The psalmist’s prayer, while beginning with himself, expands till he embraces the whole earth. II. But notice even in his personal prayer he has got the universal good before his eyes. “God be merciful unto us, and bless us”—what for? “That Thy name may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” He does not ask for personal blessing for merely selfish ends. He asks for it that it may serve the universal good. He asks God to bless Israel in order that through Israel, so blessed, God’s way may be known upon earth, His saving health amongst all nations. The psalmist has grasped this truth, that Divine favours and blessings are never bestowed upon men or nations for merely selfish enjoyment, but they are always bestowed upon them for service. Our Lord appointed twelve, “that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach.” He chose these twelve men that they might be with Him to be His friends and associates, to accompany Him in all His journeys, to share His intimate fellowship. He conferred upon these twelve the highest privilege ever bestowed upon mortal men. The high privilege conferred upon the twelve was meant for the enriching of the world. “He appointed twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth.” That illustrates a law. God’s blessings are never for selfish ends, they are always meant for the benefit of the wide world. For instance, God reveals to a doctor, let us say, some secret that makes for the health and wellbeing of mankind. He reveals it to him, not that he may hug it to himself, but that he may share it so that the whole world may be the better for it. The manifold religious privileges that this land of ours enjoys were never meant for England’s sake only. They have been conferred upon England in order that through England they may become the possession of the wide world. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God which you and I enjoy is not for our own personal gratification merely. It has been given to us that we may share it and diffuse it. You have the light. Have you shared it, diffused it, spread it abroad? Or have we, like some stagnant pool, tried to keep that Which we have received? My brethren, the Christian ought never to be represented by the pool; he ought always to be represented by the stream. The pool takes all it can get and gives nothing; receives everything, parts with nothing; and reaps the
  19. 19. penalty of its own selfishness in putridity and stagnation. The stream is always giving itself away. It runs down the hills, and as it runs down it gives greenness to the fields, cleansing and refreshing to the dwellers in the towns. Starting in the mountain, where all is at its sweetest and loveliest, it does not linger in its mountain home. It says, “There are thirsting people crying out for me; there are parched lands crying out for me,” and so it hurries down the mountain slope, past the village, into the valley, through the town, on and on, so long as there is a single yard of land to be blessed by it; on and on until the great sea is reached. III. And now, just for a moment or two further, let me ask you to notice the words with which the psalmist describes the blessings thus given to the world through the agency of Israel. It is really the blessing of salvation, but he uses two figures that describe it. He first speaks of it as “God’s way,” and in the second place as “God’s saving health.” Just look at these two figures for a moment. First, he asks that Israel may be blessed in order that “God’s way” may be known upon earth. Now, you see that the psalmist uses a figure which is familiar to all Old Testament writers—the figure of a man as a traveller, a wayfarer, a pilgrim; a traveller, as John Bunyan has put it, from the City of Destruction to the City Celestial. Or, if you like to put the same truth in a rather different form, let us say man is a traveller whose goal is happiness and peace, and there is a certain way along which he must travel if he is ever to reach that goal, if life is to be ever happy and peaceful in its course and triumphant at its end. Enoch walked with God—that is the way. He is the only successful traveller who walks with God. When the psalmist looks around him he sees multitudes of people out of the way. Like sheep they have gone astray, they have turned every one to his own way. That means misery, wretchedness, despair. God’s way is the only right way. There has been no other way discovered. But as I look out upon the world to-day I see millions of people out of the way, turning every one to his own way and reaping misery and unrest as the result. Now, did you never feel any desire to bring these wandering people back? He has blessed us just in order that His way may be known upon earth. And the second figure the psalmist uses is this— “God’s saving health.” “Thy saving health among all nations.” And if the first figure of “the way” suggests a lost and wandering world, this figure of “saving health” suggests a sick world. Here is the world from the Bible standpoint—“The whole head is sick, the whole heart is faint; from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and festering sores.” And it is not the Bible only that says it. Modern literature says it in equally plain and emphatic terms. Listen to this from Thomas Hardy: “Did you say that the stars were worlds, Tess?. . . Yes.” “All like ours?” “I don’t know, but I think so. They sometimes seem to me like apples on our tree, most of them splendid and sound, but a few blighted.” “Which do we live on, Tess?. . . A blighted one.” A sick world, that is what the Bible says, that is what literature says, that is what experience says. And this is how God’s salvation comes to us—it comes as “saving health.” God’s purpose is wholeness for every man. God’s end for you and me is to make us morally sound. God’s salvation restores unto perfect soundness and complete health. Life becomes absolutely normal. It is “saving health.” The evangelist Matthew emphasizes the healing work of Christ again and again. “He healed all manner of diseases and all manner of sicknesses.” But it was not bodily sickness alone that Christ healed. He healed the broken and the sick soul. To the sick of the palsy He said, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” It is for the Christian Church still to make God’s “saving health” known among all nations. Wherever the missionary goes you find a hospital. Jesus can give what no doctor can give—He can give healing to the soul. There are people who preach in these days a religion of healthy-mindedness. They tell us to ignore sin and evil and death. But sin and evil and death are here. They will not be ignored. An ostrich
  20. 20. policy of that kind does not get rid of these things. “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” “He that believeth on Me shall never die.” Well, ought we not to get the good news about God’s “saving health” known amongst all nailers? The world to-day is full of sick souls. India, China, Africa, are full of men and women burdened and troubled and oppressed with sin, haunted by the fear of death. Ought we not to tell them to come to Jesus Christ? Pass on the good news. Do you not think that we ought to tell every stricken soul about Him who is able to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease? Now, I lay the case of these sick souls upon your consciences—blighted by sin, and you and I know about the blood that can cleanse from it; all their lifetime in bondage through fear of death, and you and I know who can give them the victory over it. I lay the ease upon your consciences. God has blessed us and caused His face to shine upon us and been gracious unto us simply in order that His way might be known upon earth and His saving health among all nations. May He help us to spread the news, that we may share thus in the icy of the Cross that makes Christ’s kingdom come. (J. D. Jones, M. A.) A universal new year’s prayer I. That fresh supplies of Divine goodness are constantly needed by man. “God be merciful unto us,” etc. The benediction which the Almighty Himself put of old into the mouth of the high priest, to be pronounced on Israel, is the spirit and model of these words (Num_6:24-26). Hence our text is Divine, and may be used with reverent and unbounded confidence. It invokes fresh communications of His love. “Bless us.” Has not God always blessed us, through the whole of our life? Verily. Still we need a continuation. A rest in the flow of His beneficence would be our ruin, would terminate our being in black extinction. The words invoke also a fresh assurance of His love. “Cause His face to shine upon us.” The face is the symbol of the soul and the expression of its deepest things. Hence the meaning of the prayer is, Assure us of Thy love. This conscious dependence of the soul upon God is the very essence of religion. II. That the universal diffusion of Divine knowledge is of paramount importance to man. “That Thy way may be known,” etc. What are the things relating to God, a knowledge of which is so devoutly sought for the race? 1. His general method of action. “Thy way.” God has a method by which He gives His harvests: the farmer must practically recognize and follow it, if he would have his labour rewarded by abundant crops. God has a method by which He restores exhausted energies and impaired health; the physician must follow that method, if he would succeed in his profession. God has a method by which He imparts knowledge to mankind; the inquirer must follow it, if he would obtain intelligence and wisdom. And He has a method by which fallen souls may be redeemed; and this method must be followed before salvation can be reached. 2. His special method of salvation. “Thy saving health among all nations.” God has a method of moral restoration. He has salvation, He has health for the diseased, liberty for the captive, knowledge for the ignorant, pardon for the guilty, and immortality for the dying. And He has a method for imparting this salvation. What is that? (Joh_ 6:40). III. That God’s connection with the world is the great hope of man (Psa_67:4). 1. God judges the nations righteously.
  21. 21. 2. God leads the nations on. “And govern the nations upon earth.” Margin, “lead.” God does not drive men, but leads them. He leads them, as a commander does his army, against the mighty hosts of evil principles, institutions, and habits. IV. That spiritual excellence is conducive to the temporal interests of man. “Then shall the earth yield her increase.” The language implies that it is when “all the people praise God,” that all the people shall have temporal plenty, that “the earth shall yield her increase.” It is not difficult to see how spiritual excellence is conducive to temporal prosperity. Let the people be industrious, then they will put forth those efforts by which worldly good is generally obtained. Let them be temperate and economical, then self- indulgence and extravagance, which are the prolific sources of poverty, will cease. V. That true worship comprehends the supreme good of man. The whole psalm implies this. (Homilist.) That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations. The missionary prayer I. The right moral condition of the Church is of supreme importance. II. The Church being morally right, She is to be the medium of making known the supreme knowledge to others. The vital possession of this knowledge gives existence to the supreme joy. 1. The joy of Divine satisfaction. 2. The joy of a Hew experience. 3. The joy of melody and praise. What a change this knowledge produces! It turns night into morning, sadness into songs. Being the supreme knowledge, it creates the supreme joy. IV. The prevalence of this knowledge, and the presentation of this praise, will ensure a golden harvest of prosperity. (J. O. Keen, D. D.) Our duties in regard to missions I. Think of the great things that God has done for us, and survey our present condition. 1. The duty of a Christian congregation to aid in sending the Gospel to Jews and heathen is not a matter of indifference or choice; it is essentially and inseparably, as it were, a part of our existence. 2. The graces of the Spirit cannot remain inactive within us. If we have love, it shows itself in the Saviour’s cause. 3. It is by His Church that His Church will be completed. 4. As the Lord has appointed His Church as the channel to supply the waters of grace, so He has honoured those churches and congregations especially who have been the most forward to fulfil their office; for the congregation that scattereth is that which increaseth; and they that water shall be watered also themselves.
  22. 22. II. The best method of fulfilling our duty in this matter. 1. Let us endeavour to have it wrought into our minds as a Christian principle, as a part of our Christianity, as a matter of course, to be concerned and interested in promoting the Redeemer’s glory by the extension of His Kingdom. 2. That this missionary spirit may be maintained and duly directed among us, I would counsel you to make yourselves acquainted with the progress of the Gospel in the world. 3. Seek to feel more deeply the conviction that that which lies nearest to the Saviour’s heart is, that the Father may be glorified in the conversion of sinners, and the building up of His Church. 4. Watch for opportunities of serving in His cause. (John Tucker, B. D.) The extension of the Word of God abroad, intimately connected with its revival at home I. That God’s way is not at present known in all the earth, nor His saving health among all nations. II. That it is God’s will that His way should be known in all the earth, and His saving health among all nations. This is demonstrable— 1. From all those passages of Scripture which teach that all nations are to be blest in Christ. 2. From our Lord’s commission to His apostles. 3. From our Lord’s parables of the mustard seed and the leaven. III. That this will be accomplished by human instrumentality. IV. that the direct instruments to be employed in making God’s way known in all the earth are His own people. Other instruments are frequently employed as their harbingers. Such are war and commerce. These remove obstructions, level mountains, fill valleys, drain marshes, and build bridges. They have been the precursors of the Gospel in many places, particularly in the East. But the direct instruments of making the way of the Lord known, are His own people. 1. By an enlightened, pious, and zealous ministry. 2. By the consistent piety of Christ’s people. 3. By their individual and united exertions to promote the cause of Christ. Conclusion. 1. If piety be necessary to usefulness, let us pray for an increase of it in ourselves and others. 2. If many of our own countrymen are yet strangers to God’s way, let us labour to instruct them. 3. If hundreds of millions in other lands are perishing for lack of knowledge, let us cheerfully contribute our mite to the support of pious missionaries, and pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth more labourers into the harvest. (Outlines of Four Hundred Sermons.)
  23. 23. The Church’s missionary psalm Whatever other thoughts there may be in this comprehensive prayer, we cannot be mistaken in regarding the following as standing prominent among the blessings which it implores—the continued enjoyment of God’s forgiveness and friendship, and especially the increased experience of His love in quickened graces and enlarged spiritual strength; that the spring of His Church might ripen into summer; that the dawn might brighten into the perfect day; that, having life already, His people might have it more abundantly; and all this the effect of mercy, free and unforced, far-reaching-as the firmament, and fathomless as the sea. I. There is a prayer for the revival of the Church. II. There is a prayer for the increase of the Church. III. The connection between the revived life of the Church and its beneficent influence upon the world is indicated in the words, “That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” 1. Such Church will be most secure against error and unbelief. 2. Will be most chosen of God to extend His Kingdom. 3. In such Church there will be a spirit of dependence leading to abounding prayer; great moral power; much brotherly love, and a spirit of unreserved consecration. Seek, then, above all else the Spirit of God. (Andrew Thomson, D. D.) A plea for missions I. We may regard these words as the prayer of British churches in reference to themselves. The text involves— 1. The avowal of conscious unworthiness. It is the prayer of the publican, God be merciful unto us, sinners. 2. The acknowledgment of dependence on God for His blessing. 3. The desire of unusual and extraordinary manifestations of Divine grace and favour. II. The avowed faith of British churches in reference to the world. “That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” We may regard this part of our text in a threefold light: as the language of prayer; as the subject of prophetic anticipation; and as the recognition of a system of legitimate means. 1. True revival will remove many obstacles which now impede the way. By the augmentation of Christian principles it will prove the death-blow of party zeal, in all its subtle or more revealed forms. 2. It will purify all the passions of our nature. It will be the destruction of everything worldly in principle, of everything unholy in affection. 3. And will multiply agents also for the conversion of the world. (J. Morison, D. D.)
  24. 24. Conditions of spiritual growth One of the most striking characteristics of the religion of the Bible is its universality. It is designed to, and does, meet the wants of all. I. True religion is expansive both in its nature and effects. The highest form of life is exhibited in the most complex organization. In lower types we find that comparative simplicity of structure is sufficient to maintain and manifest vitality. But when we come to man, and examine the human organism, we see the highest type of life on earth. And so in the history of civilization. In the rude ages of the past little organization was needed. But how different now. The human life of man only reaches its perfect type when men are bound together with strong ties of mutual interest and dependence, sympathy and love. And so the true spiritual life of the soul seeks its growth by spreading its life-inspiring influence in every direction; by working in every possible way for the good of others, and by striving to bring the whole race into the brotherhood of the Kingdom of God. II. In seeking God’s grace and blessing for ourselves, we shall have regard to the influence to be exerted for the glory of God and the welfare of men. We are mindful of these high motives when we are seeking to stimulate others and ourselves in preaching and teaching the Gospel, but we are not so when we pray for blessings upon ourselves. III. All effective work for God must be the development of spiritual life and progress in our own souls. Christian life, like the light, radiates from a centre, and the brighter the light the farther its rays extend in every direction. Have, then, life in your souls. (Harvey Phillips, B. A.) The conversion of the world I. The principles that pervade this beautiful prayer. 1. Humility-here is no claim for justice, no word of merit, but a cry for mercy. 2. Patriotism. It is a prayer by Jews for Jews. And we may take the words for ourselves. 3. Mercy, regard for others. 4. Piety. II. The object of this prayer—the conversion of the world. The world for Christ. This is what we are bidden seek, and for which provision has been made. There must be room for the world in your hearts, your prayers, your purses. Sink not down into a littleness which belongs not to the missionary enterprise. But for the unfaithfulness of the Church the world would have been converted ere now. III. The means by which this object is to be accomplished. This country must be blessed in order that it may bless the world; our Churches must be blessed, in order that they may bless the country; we ministers must be blessed, in order that we may be a blessing to the Churches (J. A. James.) Saving health
  25. 25. 1. Our Lord graciously purposes for each of His children perfect health. He would have every power and faculty in our being working in holy vigour. Our health is our only safety. (1) To be in any way sickly or weak is to offer welcome hospitality to the evil one. He seeks out our weak points, and at the undefended place he makes his entrance. Fulness of health is fulness of resistance. The healthy soul by its very vigour is fortified against the invasions of evil and night. Indifferent spiritual health is exposed to incessant peril. The city of Corinth abounded in evil. Epidemics of worldliness and vice pervaded every grade of social life. The Christian needed to be in perfect health if he were not to be smitten by the ill contagion. Men of weakly wills and indifferent consciences and lukewarm affections fell before the invader, and became the victims of the prevalent vanity or lust. And you will remember that the Apostle Paul, looking at the little Corinthian Church, was filled with anxiety concerning some of its members. “Some are sickly!” He felt that their silliness was a friendly condition to the worldliness that besieged the gates of the Church. Their weakness exposed them to its attacks. Now, the Lord purposes that we should be in perfect health. He yearns to destroy our easy susceptibility to sin, and to place the whole bias of our life in the direction of holiness. When all our powers are perfectly healthy, our very health will be our resistance to the encroachments of the devil. (2) But spiritual health is more than self-protective; it is contagious. Common thought and common speech have made us familiar with the contagion of vice. I wish that we were equally familiar with the conception of the contagion of virtue. An evil effluence proceeds from the life of the sin-possessed; an invigorating and purifying effluence proceeds from the life of the sanctified. “Out of Him shall flow rivers of living water.” We impress and influence one another not only by what we say and what we do, but even more deeply still by what we are. Our presence itself is vitalizing if we are possessed by vigorous moral and spiritual health. In the home, in the workshop, in society, in the place of worship, our presence counts for something, counts for much, and “virtue” is going out of us as a river of operative energy in all the many relationships of our varied life. Our health is not only self-protective, it acts as a saving ministry in the lives of others. (3) But spiritual health is not only self-protective and contagious, it is actively aggressive. “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him.” The God- possessed exercise a repressive influence over the vices and passions of men. Everybody knows that we can create conditions that incite another man’s temper and lust, and we can create conditions by which these fires and cravings can be suppressed and destroyed. Our medical men sometimes provide medicated atmospheres to help to heal the ailments of their patients. They can soften and moisten the air, and so give comfort to the struggling and help to regain them to health. The Christian man supplies a medicated atmosphere to his brother. His very presence helps in the creation of conditions which are unfavourable to vice and friendly to virtue. 2. As for the secret of this “saving health,” it is to be found in the first verse of this psalm. The psalmist is a suppliant; he is kneeling in the presence chamber of the King. “God be merciful unto us, and bless us!” He is pleading with the good Lord to stoop in pity, and to lay upon him the forgiving and liberating hand. “Cause Thy face to shine upon us!” But that means that the suppliant’s face is turned towards the face of the Maker! We are renewed into the same image. Our countenances catch the light
  26. 26. and life that we contemplate. He is the “health of my countenance.” We become possessed of the saving health of God. (J. H. Jowett, M. A.) SIMEON, "CALLING OF THE GENTILES PRAYED FOR Psa_67:1-7. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us: that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee, O let the nations be glad, and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. 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. HOW much importance the compilers of our Liturgy attached to this psalm may be judged from the appointment of it to be read in the daily services of our Church. The general import of the psalm is plain enough: but, in order to get a just view of the different expressions contained in it, we must place ourselves in the situation of David at the time he composed it. The Jewish Church and nation were a peculiar people, instructed in the knowledge of salvation, and living under the government of Jehovah. The righteous among them enjoyed the light of God’s countenance, and looked forward to the possession of yet richer blessings under the reign of their Messiah. But the Gentile world were altogether ignorant of a Saviour, and living without God in the world, under the tyranny of the prince of darkness, by whom they were led captive at his will. These two things then the Psalmist desired, namely, the advent of the Messiah to his own nation, and the manifestation of him to all the world. The former of these events was prayed for in the beginning of the psalm; “God be merciful unto us, and bless us” with the accomplishment of that promise, to which all thy people are looking forward, the advent of the Messiah: and “cause thy face to shine upon us,” in the person of Him, who is “the brightness of thy glory, and the express image of thy person!” The latter event however seems on this occasion to have chiefly occupied his mind: and the immediate exhibition of Christ to the Jews was desired, in order to his ulterior manifestation to the Gentile world, whom he longed to see partakers of all the privileges which he either enjoyed, or hoped for. He longed to see them brought into “the way” of truth and “salvation,” and subjected to the “righteous government” of the Messiah, and growing up before God in multitudes, “like the piles of grass upon the earth [Note: ver. 6. with Psa_ 72:16. Compare Isa_35:1-2; Isa_55:12-13.].” This being the general subject of the psalm, we shall proceed to notice some important instruction that is to be gathered from it. It shews us, I. That there are rich blessings yet in store for the Gentiles— [The whole psalm might with great propriety be read in the future tense, as a prophecy. In the two concluding verses of the psalm it is so read in our translation: and it might have been so read throughout. And in that view how singularly striking is it! how strong
  27. 27. and numerous the assertions, that such an event shall take place! At present indeed there seems to be but little prospect of so glorious an event: but we are well assured it shall come, and that too at no distant period. Indeed in part it is already come: for who are we but Gentiles? By the preaching of the Apostles, myriads were converted to the faith of Christ: and myriads are yet monuments of his power and grace. But this is only the first-fruits: we expect a harvest, when “a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” We believe that the day is coming when “all the ends of the earth shall remember themselves, and turn unto the Lord their God:” “they shall fear the Lord their God, and David their king [Note: Hos_3:5.].” “The way” of salvation through a crucified Redeemer “shall then be known among them,” and “the saving health” of the Gospel be then imparted to those who are now dying in their sins. The bond-slaves of sin and Satan shall then cast off the yoke of their oppressor, and yield themselves willing subjects to the Prince of Peace. In a word, they who have hitherto known no pleasure but in the indulgence of their lusts, shall “be glad in the Lord, and sing praise to his name,” and “rejoice in him” as their God for ever and ever. Glorious period! May “God hasten it in his time!”] It further shews us, II. What an union there is between piety and philanthropy— [The Jews were represented by their enemies as haters of mankind. But this was in no respect applicable to the godly among them. What could exceed the love of David towards the Gentile world? We cannot conceive greater earnestness than is expressed for their welfare in this psalm. David seems scarcely to think that he himself is blessed, whilst the Gentile world remain destitute of any share in his blessings. This philanthropy was the fruit of his piety: and wherever true piety exists, it will shew itself in a concern for those who are afar off from God, and perishing in their sins. All piety that is devoid of charity, is a mere name, a phantom, a delusion. “If,” says an inspired Apostle, “we see our brother have need, and shut up our bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in us?” And if this be true in relation to his temporal wants, how much more is it respecting the wants of his soul! We wish all then to judge of their piety by this touchstone: see what measure of compassion you have to your perishing fellow- creatures: see what pleasure you have in contemplating the future accession of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ; what efforts you make to promote it; and what earnestness you have when praying for it at a throne of grace. These things will lead you into a considerable degree of self-knowledge: for be assured you know but little of the saving efficacy of Christ’s blood, or the sanctifying efficacy of his grace, if you are not longing and labouring to bring others to a participation of your blessings.] We may further learn, III. What encouragement we have for missionary exertions— [If nothing had been spoken in the Scriptures respecting the conversion of the heathen,
  28. 28. we might well sit down in despair and say, It is in vain to attempt so hopeless a work. But when we look into the Scriptures and see how continually this subject is brought forward, and with what confidence it is declared, we should make no account of difficulties, since “with God all things are possible.” Ezekiel might have objected to the commission given to him to preach to dry bones: but he knew that dry bones could live, if God should be pleased to breathe life into them [Note: Eze_37:1-14.]. Thus may we engage in missionary labours, assured that God will fulfil his own word, and crown our endeavours with success. Indeed the time for the full accomplishment of his promise seems fast approaching; and “the fields appear already, as it were, white unto the harvest.” Methinks the heathen in divers countries are saving to us, not by their necessities only, but by their express desires, “Come over to us, and help us!” And shall we he backward to impart the knowledge with which we are so highly favoured, and the salvation which we profess to glory in? It is obvious enough, that they cannot learn unless they be taught; “nor can they hear, without a preacher.” Let not difficulties then dismay us: but let us go forth in the strength of the Lord God, and look to him to accompany his word with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven: then may we hope that Satan’s empire shall be destroyed, and that the promised kingdom of our Redeemer shall be established on its ruins.] 2 so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. BAR ES, "That thy way may be known upon earth - The law of God; the principles and methods of the divine administration; the way in which God rules mankind and in which he bestows his blessings on people. The prayer is, that all the earth might be made acquainted with the methods in which God deals with his people, or confers favors on people. The happiness of man depends on a knowledge of the principles on which God bestows his favors; for all people are, in all things, dependent on him. The success of a farmer depends on his understanding, and complying with, the laws and principles on which God bestows a harvest; the preservation of health, the restoration of health when we are sick, depends on a knowledge of the great laws which God has ordained for the continuance of the healthy functions of our bodies, and on the use of the means which he has provided for restoring health when those functions are disordered; and, in like manner, the salvation of the soul depends on the right understanding of the method which God has appointed to secure his favor. In neither of these cases - in no case - is it the business of people to originate laws of their own; laws
  29. 29. for the cultivation of the earth, or for the preservation of health, or for the saving of the soul. The business of man is to find out the rules in accordance with which God bestows his favors, and then to act in obedience to them. The psalmist here supposes that there are certain rules or principles, in accordance with which God bestows blessings on mankind; and he prays that those rules and principles may be everywhere made known upon the earth. Thy saving health among all nations - The original word here rendered “saving health,” is “salvation.” It is with great uniformity so rendered. It is indeed translated “welfare,” in Job_30:15; help, in Psa_3:2; Psa_42:5; deliverance, in Psa_18:50; Psa_ 44:4; Isa_26:18; helping, Psa_22:1; and health, in Psa_42:11; but elsewhere it is in all cases rendered “salvation.” The words “saving health” were adopted from an older version, but no argument should be founded on, them. The word “salvation” expresses all that there is in the original; and the prayer is, that the method by which God confers salvation on people may be made known throughout all lands. Assuredly no more appropriate prayer could be offered than that all the race may be made acquainted with the way in which God saves sinners. CLARKE, "That thy way may be known - That thy will, thy gracious designs towards the children of men, thy way of reconciling them to thyself, of justifying the ungodly, and sanctifying the unholy, may be known to all the nations upon the earth! God’s way is God’s religion; what he walks in before men; and in which men must walk before him. A man’s religion is his way of worshipping God, and going to heaven. The whole Gospel is called this way, Act_19:9. Thy saving health - ‫ישועתך‬ yeshuathecha, “thy salvation.” The great work which is performed in God’s way, in destroying the power, pardoning the guilt, cleansing from the infection, of all sin; and filling the soul with holiness, with the mind that was in Christ. Let all nations - the whole Gentile world, know that way, and this salvation! GILL, "That thy way may be known upon earth,.... God's way and method of grace, in the salvation of sinners; the contrivance of it in Christ, the impetration of it by him, and the application of it by his Spirit; and the way of sinners to him through Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, the new and living way to the Father; and the way of life and salvation, which is grace, and by Christ alone; and the Gospel which points out this way, and is itself called the way of God, Act_18:25; together with the ordinances of it, which are ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace; all this was made known by the apostles and first preachers of the Gospel; not only in the land of Judea, but throughout the whole earth; thy saving health among all nations; or "thy salvation"; or "thy Jesus" (l); whose name signifies a Saviour; and who is the only one, and an able and willing one, and is God's salvation, of his appointing, promising, and sending; salvation is by him, and by him only; he came to obtain it, and he is the author of it; health is also by him, he is the physician of souls, and his blood the balm that cures every disease; so that he is the Saviour, salvation, and saving health, to his people; this was unknown to the nations of
  30. 30. the world until the Gospel came among them, until the grace of God bringing this salvation appeared unto them, and shone upon them, Tit_2:11. HE RY, "He passes from this to a prayer for the conversion of the Gentiles (Psa_ 67:2): That thy way may be known upon earth. “Lord, I pray not only that thou wilt be merciful to us and bless us, but that thou wilt be merciful to all mankind, that thy way may be known upon earth.” Thus public-spirited must we be in our prayers. Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come. We shall have never the less of God's mercy, and blessing, and favour, for others coming in to share with us. Or it may be taken thus: “God be merciful to us Jews, and bless us, that thereby thy way may be known upon earth, that by the peculiar distinguishing tokens of thy favour to us others may be allured to come and join themselves to us, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you,” Zec_8:23. 1. These verses, which point at the conversion of the Gentiles, may be taken, (1.) As a prayer; and so it speaks the desire of the Old Testament saints; so far were they from wishing to monopolize the privileges of the church that they desired nothing more than the throwing down of the enclosure and the laying open of the advantages. See then how the spirit of the Jews, in the days of Christ and his apostles, differed from the spirit of their fathers. The Israelites indeed that were of old desired that God's name might be known among the Gentiles; those counterfeit Jews were enraged at the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles; nothing in Christianity exasperated them so much as that did. (2.) As a prophecy that it shall be as he here prays. Many scripture-prophecies and promises are wrapped up in prayers, to intimate that the answer of the church's prayer is as sure as the performance of God's promises. 2. Three things are here prayed for, with reference to the Gentiles: - (1.) That divine revelation might be sent among them, Psa_67:2. Two things he desires might be know upon earth, even among all nations, and not to the nation of the Jews only: - [1.] God's way, the rule of duty: “Let them all know, as well as we do, what is good and what the Lord our God requires of them; let them be blessed and honoured with the same righteous statutes and judgments which are so much the praise of our nation and the envy of all its neighbours,” Deu_4:8. [2.] His saving health, or his salvation. The former is wrapped up in his law, this in his gospel. If God make known his way to us, and we walk in it, he will show us his saving health, Psa_50:23. Those that have themselves experimentally known the pleasantness of God's ways, and the comforts of his salvation, cannot but desire and pray that they may be known to others, even among all nations. All upon earth are bound to walk in God's way, all need his salvation, and there is in it enough for all; and therefore we should pray that both the one and the other may be made known to all. JAMISO , "thy way — of gracious dealing (Isa_55:8), as explained by - saving health — or literally, “salvation.” CALVI , "2That they may know thy way upon the earth. Here we have a clear prophecy of that extension of the grace of God by which the Gentiles were united
  31. 31. into one body with the posterity of Abraham. The Psalmist prays for some conspicuous proof of favor to be shown his chosen people, which might attract the Gentiles to seek participation in the same blessed hope. (4) By the way of God is meant his covenant, which is the source or spring of salvation, and by which he discovered himself in the character of a Father to his ancient people, and afterwards more clearly under the Gospel, when the Spirit of adoption was shed abroad in greater abundance. (5) Accordingly, we find Christ himself saying, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God,” (John 17:3) SPURGEO , "Ver. 2. That thy way may be known upon earth. As showers which first fall upon the hills afterwards run down in streams into the valleys, so the blessing of the Most High comes upon the world through the church. We are blessed for the sake of others as well as ourselves. God deals in a way of mercy with his saints, and then they make that way known far and wide, and the Lord's name is made famous in the earth. Ignorance of God is the great enemy of mankind, and the testimonies of the saints, experimental and grateful, overcome this deadly foe. God has set a way and method of dealing out mercy to men, and it is the duty and privilege of a revived church to make that way to be everywhere known. Thy saving health among all nations, or, thy salvation. One likes the old words, "saving health, "yet as they are not the words of the Spirit but only of our translators, they must be given up: the word is salvation, and nothing else. This all nations need, but many of them do not know it, desire it, or seek it; our prayer and labour should be, that the knowledge of salvation may become as universal as the light of the sun. Despite the gloomy notions of some, we cling to the belief that the kingdom of Christ will embrace the whole habitable globe, and that all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for this glorious consummation we agonize in prayer. EXPLA ATORY OTES A D QUAI T SAYI GS Ver. 1-2. See Psalms on "Psalms 67:1" for further information. Ver. 2. That thy way may be known, etc. The psalmist here supposes that there are certain rules or principles, in accordance with which God bestows blessings on mankind; and he prays that those rules and principles may be everywhere made known upon the earth. Albert Barnes. Ver. 2. That thy way may be known, etc. By nature we know little of God, and nothing of Christ, or the way of salvation by him. The eye of the creature, therefore, must be opened to see the way of life before he can by faith get into it. God doth not use to waft souls to heaven like passengers in a ship, who are shut under the hatches, and see nothing all the way they are sailing to their port; if so, that prayer might have been spared which the psalmist, inspired of God, breathes forth in the behalf of the blind Gentiles: That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. As faith is not a naked assent, with affiance and innitency (Act of leaning on) on Christ; so neither is it a blind assent, without some knowledge. If, therefore, you continue still in thy brutish ignorance, and knowest not so much as who Christ is, and what he hath done for the salvation of poor sinners, and what thou must do to get interest in him, thou art far enough from believing. If the day be not broke in thy soul, much less is the Sun of Righteousness arisen by faith in thy
  32. 32. soul. William Gurnall. Ver. 2. That thy way may be known. The sinful Jew, obstinate in his unbelief, shall see and hate. He shall see, and be enraged at the salvation of the Gentiles; but let us see and know, that is, love. For to know is often put for to love, as in the passages-- "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them: I know mine, and am known of mine; "that is, I love my own sheep, and they love me... There is here a sudden transition from the third person to the second, that in speaking of God he might not say, "His way, "or "his salvation, "but Thy way, and Thy salvation setting forth the vehemence of an ardent suppliant, and the grace of God as he reveals himself to that suppliant while still pouring forth his prayers. Gerhohus (1093-1169). Ver. 2. That thy way may be known, etc. As light, so the participation of God's light is communicative: we must not pray for ourselves alone, but for all others, that God's way may be known upon earth, and his saving health among all nations. Thy way; that is, thy will, thy word, thy works. God's will must be known on earth, that it may be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Except we know our Master's will, how shall we do it? Ergo, first pray with David here: Let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth; and then, Let all the people praise thee. God's will is revealed in his word, and his word is his way wherein we must walk, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left. Or, Thy way; that is, thy works, as David elsewhere (Psalms 25:10): "All thy ways of the Lord are mercy and truth." Or, as others (Augustine; Jerome; Hilary) most fitly: Thy way, that is, thy Christ; "Thy saving health, "that is, thy Jesus: for "I am the way, "saith our Saviour (John 14:6): " o man cometh unto the Father, but by me; " wherefore, "Let thy Son be known upon earth; thy Jesus among all nations." John Boys. ELLICOTT, "(2) Saving health.—The Hebrew word is that generally rendered “salvation,” but often better rendered “help,” or “deliverance.” By “health” the translators meant “healing power,” as in Shakespeare, King John, Act V., Scene 2:— “For the health and physick of our right.” COKE, "Psalms 67:2. That thy way may be known— That is, that all the world may be sensible of the truth of the Jewish religion; and expect no blessing, but from the supreme God of the Jews. Thy saving health, or salvation, refers to the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The Syriac version, in its preface to this psalm, says, "It gives us a prophesy of the calling of the Gentiles, and the preaching of the Apostles." Theodoret thinks the same. PULPIT, "That thy way may he known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. God is besought to bless his people Israel (Psalms 67:1), in order that so his "way" may become known to all the earth, his "saving health," or his "salvation," to all (heathen) nations. The idea is not raised of any compulsory empire, but of one which will gradually extend itself, by winning the heathen over to it through the sight of Israel's blessedness (comp. Isaiah 49:18-23; Isaiah 60:3, Isaiah 60:4).
  33. 33. WHEDO , "2. That thy way may be known—Literally, for the knowing thy way. The telic use of the preposition denotes the end or object for which the blessing (Psalms 67:1) is invoked upon the Church, namely, to the end that the ways of God may be made known in the earth. Thus, in all ages, through his Church, the world is to learn his ways with men. Thy way—Thy method, particularly thy plan of grace. “Way,” here, is the parallel word to salvation in the next line of the verse. Saving health—Hebrew, simply, salvation. “Health” has nothing to answer to it in the original. The fuller form occurs Psalms 28:8, where “saving strength,” is literally strength of salvations. All nations—All Gentile nations. The word usually bears this sense. GUZIK, "2. (2) The reason for blessing. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. a. That Your way may be known on earth: The reason the Psalmist asks for this high and great blessing isnt a selfish reason. He asks for this blessing for the sake of Gods glory, and for the sake of the perishing multitudes. b. Your way: ot simply the truth of God, or the word of God to be published abroad but for Your way, the way of the Lord, to be known on earth. This reminds us of the idea behind the great missionary passage of Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Jesus didnt tell them only to evangelize and save souls, but to make disciples of all the nations, and to teach them to observe all thing that I have commanded you. i. Of course, we need to know Gods Word to walk in His way; but walking in His way is more than knowing His Word! c. May be known on earth: The Psalmist has a beautiful scope in mind. ot just Jerusalem, not just Judea, not just all of Israel, not just all the Middle East, not just all the Mediterranean world, not just his continent or hemisphere, but all the earth!

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