Today we turn our attention to Psalm 67, a short psalm with a powerful reminder. But first a bit about poetic form.
Psalm 67, as well as a number of other Biblical passages (both poetic and not) form a chiasm or chiasmus. I use the analogy of going up and back down stairs to try to explain this. If I ascend and descend three stairs, then the pattern is thus: 1, 2, 3, 2, 1. So in a chiasm both verses on “step 1” are bookends of the poem, and are related. Same for “step 2”, and “step 3” would be the pinnacle, or main point of the poem. Psalm 67 forms a chiasm with three steps.
To show the pattern I’ll use our example of steps from above.
- Step 1 – vs. 1-2
- Step 2 – v. 3
- Step 3 – v. 4
- Step 2 – v. 5
- Step 2 – v. 3
- Step 1 – v. 6-7
Let’s look at the relationship between each step, the main point, and what it means for us today.
May God be gracious to us and bless us;Psalm 67: 1-2 CSB
may he make his face shine upon us
so that your way may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
Notice that the purpose of the blessing to “us” is in order that God’s salvation be made to “all nations.” This is a key theme in the Hebrew Scriptures that Israel often missed. Their purpose (and ours) is to proclaim God’s good news and salvation to those who do not know him, “all” of them!
The central claim of the psalm is God’s goodness and fairness toward the nations which should result in praise of everyone!
Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy,Psalm 67:4 CSB
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and lead the nations on earth.
This central statement about God is bracketed by step 2 in verses 3 and 5 with the same call to praise by “all the peoples.” And the psalm closes with another blessing for “all” peoples.
The earth has produced its harvest;Psalm 67:6-7 CSB
God, our God, blesses us.
God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Over and over the psalmist reminds us that the purpose of God’s people, the purpose of God’s blessing, the knowledge of God’s salvation, and the role of God and his people in the world is to make Him known to all peoples! Every one of them!
So what are you doing to reach all peoples for God? What are you doing to teach all nations about him? How much time do you spend with those who look different than you, act different than you, believe different than you, etc?
The great fault of Israel is they chose to isolate and insulate against the world rather than reach out to them for God’s glory. Is the church today guilty of the same?
I leave you with a quote from the late British missionary to India, Lesslie Newbigin.
“Christians have no effect in the world as long as they refuse to engage the world.”Lesslie Newbigin