Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Blessing of God

Psalm 67:1  To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, [Selah]
Psa 67:2  that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
Psa 67:3  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
Psa 67:4  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. [Selah]
Psa 67:5  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
Psa 67:6  The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
Psa 67:7  May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

This is the Psalm set for tomorrow (Easter 6). It is a song of praise, to be sung responsively between a leader and a congregation. The song opens with a summarised version of the benediction of Numbers 6:24-26, which invokes God’s blessing. Then the request is repeated in closing “May God continue to bless us”.    

The idea of God blessing us is an important (if greatly misunderstood), teaching of our faith. We all ask for God’s blessing – with little thought about what we are asking. We assume our right to ask God for blessing, and assume that God ought to bless us! In fact, we get annoyed when we see other people appearing to be ‘more blessed that me’.  We might even be tempted to complain ‘Why her?’

So here’s the thing: God is God, and we cannot prescribe to God. If God chooses to bless, or God chooses not to bless – that is a Godly prerogative. The first lesson to be learned is that God blesses whom God chooses, when God chooses, for the reasons God chooses.

The second lesson is one of extravagance: We are blessed, not because we have deserved it, but rather we are blessed in spite of our unfaithfulness. The surprising thing is that God chooses to bless at all. God's blessings are gracious, surprising, unexpected gifts.  

So the invitation for today: read through the above Psalm. Read it aloud, slowly and with gratitude. It will be even better if you can find another person to share this experience with you. And go into Sunday with a spirit of gratitude for blessings you have experienced.

May God continue to bless us!

  1. There shall be showers of blessing:
    This is the promise of love;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    Sent from the Savior above.
    • Refrain:
      Showers of blessing,
      Showers of blessing we need:
      Mercy-drops round us are falling,
      But for the showers we plead
  2. There shall be showers of blessing,
    Precious reviving again;
    Over the hills and the valleys,
    Sound of abundance of rain.
  3. There shall be showers of blessing;
    Send them upon us, O Lord;
    Grant to us now a refreshing,
    Come, and now honour Thy Word.
  4. There shall be showers of blessing:
    Oh, that today they might fall,
    Now as to God we’re confessing,
    Now as on Jesus we call!
  5. There shall be showers of blessing,
    If we but trust and obey;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    If we let God have His way.

Sixth  Sunday of Easter
Chosen by God
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 173.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

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