Does today’s psalm sound familiar at all to you?
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’
“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27 ESV)
This prayer echoes what is often called the Aaronic Blessing (above), which is not only a request for God’s blessing, but a reminder of His presence. Today’s reflection question: What are a few ways that you have experienced the blessings of the Lord? As you consider what He has done for you, use these thoughts as fuel to live in gratitude this week.
I want to highlight one more important aspect of this psalm, and it appears in verse 4. It’s where we see a hint of the inclusion of the gentiles in God’s plan of redemption. We see the phrase, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,” which can be confusing since most see the Old Testament pointing to the Jews as God’s people. How should we understand this? John Collins of Covenant Theological Seminary put it this way:
This could be a prayer that these Gentiles come to appreciate the author of that general and kind providence they have experienced, and then to worship him (cf. Acts 14:17); but, since the term “judge” seems to indicate a more direct rule than simply oversight (cf. also the term guide, or “lead”; see Ps. 73:24; 77:20), it is more likely that this is praying for the day when God’s acknowledged rule is extended to include the Gentiles (cf. Isa. 2:4; 11:3–4, both using the same word, “judge,” applied to the Gentiles). (In the OT, the first duty of the judge was to protect the innocent; he was a kind of savior.) The OT very decidedly looks to a future era in which the Gentiles receive God’s light, and this song fosters this hope in each ordinary believer. (See also the note on Ps. 67:6–7, “the ends of the earth.”) The Christian message includes the announcement that this era has arrived, due to Jesus’ resurrection, which installs him on the throne of David (Rom. 1:1–5).
“Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,” then, should be seen not as a generic way of saying that creation should worship God, but a celebratory glimpse of people from all over the world bringing praise to the Lord. That’s good stuff right there…
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor