From Psalms 66-69
The shining forth of the face of God upon his people describes God’s good will and blessing. A shining, bright face reveals a person of good disposition and is a sign of inward pleasure. The opposite of God’s shining face is his hidden face. When God hides his face, the life of his people is endangered. Some time in the future, followers of Jesus will see him face to face.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The Psalm was intended to be put to song and music. A whole choir would sing this Psalm.
67 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! (Ps 67.1-3)
The Psalm refers to the LORD as God. They are both the same.
The Psalmist expresses the hope God would be gracious to them and bless them. He has these benefits in mind when he says, ‘make his face shine upon us’.
If God looks at them and his face shines they will be illuminated by his being.
Only good things can happen when God does this. Most importantly God will manifest his ‘saving power’. They will be saved from their enemies and God will be publicly vindicated. In this way if God fulfills their request, the nations around them will see what he has done.
The section ends with a request to all people that they praise God.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! (Ps 67.4-5)
The Psalmist calls upon all the nations to rejoice in God. The reason might seem strange.
They are to be glad and sing for joy because God will judge all people (setting things right) and guide all nations in how they should live.
The section ends with the same request that all people praise God.
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him! (Ps 67.6-7)
God is blessing them already through their crops. They anticipate further blessing from God knowing that all nations will fear him. Holding him is reverent awe.
The ‘face of God’ is a term used to refer to the character of God, especially his favour towards his people. For God to turn his face to his people is to offer them his grace and help; for God to turn his face against his people is to withhold his favour and blessing. To seek the face of God is to seek his favour.
The priests would say to those who worshipped at the tabernacle or the temple;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Num 6.25-26)
This is what the Lord Jesus does to all those who believe he died and rose again. When we see him he will shine his face on all his followers with wonderful effect.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor 13.12)
When we read and hear the gospel message we are exposed to his wonderful face. It will get even better when we see him in person.
Do you look forward to seeing Jesus’ face?
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.