Friday, August 15, 2008

"A Blessing from God" Psalm 67

There is an old Irish Wedding Blessing I really like. It reads;
May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children's children.

May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward
.
[1]

We love the idea of receiving a blessing, but our culture struggles to understand exactly what it is seeking. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “blessing” as “A stroke of good luck: boon, find, windfall, manna, godsend, good fortune.”
[2] I believe that none of these words capture the essence what the Bible means when it uses this word, but I fear they do depict what has become the common place proclamation in many pulpits across our land. A quick scan through religious television offers a rather sad cadre of preachers proclaiming that we can name and claim God’s blessing if we will only donate to their ministry. Others tell us that health and wealth are the outward symbols of God’s blessing for those who are deemed worthy. I guess it means that if one struggles with health issues or does not live in the right kind of house are unworthy of God’s blessing. The problem with these perspectives is that while they are culturally comfortable, they violate the heart of Scripture.

Psalm 67 is one of the great blessing psalms. It was written for public worship and summons the people of God to hear and consider what it meant to live with the blessing of God. “Moreover, it was used antiphonally, first one group singing their verses, than a second group answering them,” just like we read in in our worship service.
[3] This Psalm paints a very different picture of what it means to receive God’s blessing. It is a picture born in relationship, bound in God’s glory, and that carries a profound sense of responsibility.

This Psalm drives home that the theme that with blessing comes responsibility…….the intention is for God to bless all the peoples of the world – God chooses to do that through a specific people, God’s people of faith – that means through people like us. Verse 7 sounds out May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him. The Psalm claims language reminiscent of the covenant language between God and Abraham first heard in Genesis 12:1-3. The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." For the psalmist and for the heart of scripture there is an unquestioned link between being blessed by God and becoming a blessing for others. As people of the New Covenant through Christ we inherit this call.

I invite you to join the conversation on this passage in Sunday in worship at First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City or by adding a comment to this blog spot.

May we be blessed by God to become a blessing for the world.

Grace and Peace, Tom


[1] Referenced online at http://islandireland.com/Pages/folk/sets/bless.html on August 12, 2008.
[2]Excerpted from American Heritage Talking Dictionary. Copyright © 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
[3]Knight, G. A. F. 2001, c1982. Psalms : Volume 1 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The Daily study Bible series. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville

1 comment:

keddy said...

thank you tom for inspiring me.