Tuesday, February 10, 2009

God blesses… (Psalm 67) 100209

When I read this psalm, I cannot help to pronounce a benediction from Numbers 6:24-26:

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD life up His countenance on you, And give you peace.

I am sure that the psalmist understands the context and has experienced God’s bountiful goodness and greatness for both himself and his people; that is why he also desires such blessing to be extended to all the people in all the nations (v2-5). He is so intentional in his message, that the structure of this psalm shows it all:

A. Prayer for God's Blessing (vv.1-2)
B. Prayer for Inclusion of the Nations (v.3)
C. Prayer for the Rule of God (v.4)
B'. Prayer for Inclusion of the Nations (v.5)
A'. Prayer for God's Blessing (vv.6-7)

You and I know that God blesses. He has blessed me, and He has blessed you. But you and I also know that His blessing comes with His ruling. Unless we are being ruled by Him, we will not be able to experience the fullness of His blessing in our lives. I must put a disclaimer here: God still blesses the whole earth and the people in it because of His love. But in order to experience the fullness of His blessing, we have to allow Him to rule in us, so that we can be in tuned with His working in and through our lives.

God blesses, and God rules. Recently, I read in the newspaper that Singaporeans have been more ‘religious’ during this economic downturn. More people are swarming into temples and churches. They are seeking after some sort of divine blessing upon them, they are longing for some sort of ‘deliverance’ from such a difficult time; but not many people are seeking to be ruled. They want blessing with no string attach. They want a god who can simply manipulate by their ‘sincerity’. They want to be blessed without to be ruled.

As I reflect on this, aren’t we Christians also having similar attitudes? We go to church to listen to a sermon, and then we critique it or the preacher and left the church without being transformed at all. We come before the communion table to confess our sins and ask God to forgive us, and continue our Monday with the same sin again. We serve the church on our precious weekends and hoping that God will see our diligence but just to find an excuse to be late for Monday work or having Monday blues. We even gather people to fast and pray and thinking that our numbers can overpower God’s sovereign will. (I am not against fasting and praying, because fasting gives us time and space to reflect upon God’s blessing, and acknowledge His ruling in our lives. I am encouraged to see many people fasting and praying; because in such manner, we can grow in intimacy with God, understanding His will.) But the goal of Christian life is to be more and more under that rule of God and hence live in the Spirit.

God blesses, and God rules. Let us remember this truth. And the psalmist echoes it in his concluding verse:

God blesses us, That all the ends of the earth may fear Him. (v7)


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