May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. Selah May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. (NIV)
I really did not know where to begin as I study this Psalm. This is a simple Psalm with a simple message “may God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us”. Yet it was this simple prayer that Moses (Numbers 6:22-27) instructed Aaron and his sons to use to bless Israel. This benediction recognizes that God is the source of all good blessings in a person’s life.
Verse two presents two request for knowledge from the writer of this Psalm to God. First that His ways may be known on the earth. The second was that his salvation might be known among all nations. The interesting issue in this verse is the focus on the whole earth, not just the nation of Israel. We have the tendency just focus on the issues around us, but in this verse the author of this Psalm makes us realized that the knowledge of God and his salvation is for the whole world.
The last two verses are the realization of the results that can come from following God’s ways. The land will yield it harvest, we will be blessed of God, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. As I reflect upon these verses I am reminded of the great Christmas hymn “I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day” by Henry Longfellow and the words of this song:
And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Yes these verses might not seem possible today; yet, one day soon Christ will return, there will be a new heaven and a new earth and man will enjoy a new relationship with God. The barrier of our sinful nature removed forever by the blood of Christ. Then the people of the earth will praise God.