“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us —
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations” (Ps 67: 1 – 2).
The imagery of God’s face shining on us signifies His kindness towards us or His favour – that is, His joy, light, peace and prosperity into our lives.
Having said that, the first two lines of this psalm, makes the psalmist’s prayer sounds rather selfish doesn’t it! “Lord, bless us. Lord, be gracious to me”. “Lord, it doesn’t matter about anyone else, just pour out your blessings and good things on me.”
But we only need to read the second verse to see that the two are connected: “so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among the nations”.
The psalmist is praying for the Lord’s blessing, for the benefit of the nations around them. So, too, can we pray for the Lord’s blessing for the benefit of those people around us. As we walk in fellowship with Him, living in His light, drawing on His daily grace, we can pray that the presence of a Holy God may be noticed by our neighbours. Our family. Our place of work.
In other words, God’s “ways” become visible, because the one submitted to the Lord lives differently to her peers. She knows the love and favour of her Father in heaven and so her demeanour, her choices, her language speak daily of realm where the Lord reigns and where His love and influence bring life and peace.
As we live in the grace of God, under the warm light of his face, those in darkness may sense the gulf between their world and ours, even if they can’t articulate why or what it is. And wouldn’t it be great if that gulf, along with the demonstration of His ways in plain view through the life of God’s child stirred a cry for help from the unbeliever?
“Lord, if you are there. I want what she’s got. Let me experience that joy and peace that seems to radiate from her. She talks of being saved, please give me that salvation too”.
“The Lord’s face shone on Moses with unique effect: ‘When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD’” (Ex 34: 29).
Our faces may not glow from reading God’s Word or because we have spent time with Him in prayer, but we should expect His Presence to change us. And that change to be noticed by those in our orbit. Paul reminds us that we leak the aroma of Christ (in 2 Cor 2: 15) and Jesus told his followers that they were the light of the world (Matt 5: 14).
We are the vessels God chooses for His ways to be known on earth, a beacon of hope for the nations.