Not Just for Our Good

Until I got to the songwriter’s song this morning, I was kind of overwhelmed by the sheer volume of “commands to obey” I was highlighting in my readings in Deuteronomy and Romans. Ready to perhaps compare and contrast, in some manner, the instructions of Moses to purge the evil, maintain their distinction, and honor their God, with Paul’s commands to present our bodies, conform not to the world, and seek to do the will of the Father beginning with the Body of Christ.

But then, I read Psalm 67. And the first line in this song pointed to something else from the writings of Moses, something my daughter tried to put on my radar a number of days ago but I which I listened to only last night before turning in. Two signposts, encountered in less than a twelve hour period — one as I prepared to sleep, the other shortly after I awoke — pointing to the same thing. Coincidence? Nope.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us,

Selah

(Psalm 67:1 ESV)

Clearly a reference to the priestly blessing God gave Moses and Aaron for His people back in Numbers (6:22-27). Just like the song my daughter shared with me.

A prayer given for God’s people. A prayer, as is evident in this song, to be prayed by God’s people.

A prayer, frankly, we should always be praying. Always acknowledging our daily need for the grace, blessing, and face of God upon us. But one which, I confess, seems less “necessary” in times of stability when I think I have all things well under control.

So the songwriter paraphrases the blessing and then, mid-sentence, pauses. Selah.

Selah. Stop. Take a breath. Wait. Let the singing cease, let the instruments play. Think on what you’ve just sung. Meditate on what you’ve just uttered. Chew on what you’ve just read. Selah.

God, be gracious to us. Oh, how we need Your unmerited, undeserved favor. Father, bless us. Act according to Your promises. Intervene in our situation. Let the rain fall and the land bear much fruit. Creator and Sustainer, make Your face shine upon us. May we know Your nearness. Let us experience the warmth and reality of Your presence.

How does that not resonate, especially in times like these?

God is for us. No one and nothing can be against us. Greater is He that is in us than anything that is in the world. He has redeemed us, and has done so for our good.

True statements. Amen?

But wait . . . there’s more!

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us,

Selah

that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.

(Psalm 67:1-2 ESV)

More than for just our good, He has owned us as His for His glory. Thus, we seek His grace, blessing, and His face, for more than just our benefit, but that others might know He is God. That His favor upon His people would make Him known throughout all the earth. That His power to save, sustain, and deliver would be recognized among all the nations.

We seek God’s favor at times such as these (right thing to do), but may it not be just for our self-preserving good, but also for His Self-revealing glory. That our neighbors might see a peace that passes understanding pointing to the Prince of Peace. A hope that is abiding making known the One in whom we abide. A confidence that is unfailing, not because of who we are and what we can do, but because of who He is and what He has done. His face shining on us, then reflecting off us to those who need to know His light.

Not just for our good — though, Lord, how we long for protection and power in our lives — but more importantly, for His glory.

Selah.

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