Jesus said, "Look at the fields. They are ready for the *harvest". (John 4:35)
(This is) for the music leader.
(He is) to use *stringed instruments.
(It is) a psalm (and) a song.
v1 God, be *gracious to us and *bless us.
Make your face to shine on us. *SELAH
v2 Then people will know the things that you do on the earth.
People from every *nation will know that you can save them.
v3 So people everywhere will say how great you are, God.
People everywhere will say how great you are.
v4 The *nations will be so very happy that they will sing aloud for *joy!
Because you make fair decisions about everybody,
then you will be a guide to everyone on the earth. *SELAH
v5 People everywhere will say how great your are, God.
People everywhere will say how great you are.
v6 The ground has given us its *harvest
and God, our God, will continue to *bless us.
v7 God - *bless us!
Then everyone that lives on the earth will be afraid of you.
*Gracious, *bless, shine, way, save, people, *nation/s, *joy, *harvest and *awe are all special words in this psalm. "What Psalm 67 means" explains them.
The Story of Psalm 67
Bible students do not know who wrote this psalm, or when. It uses two ideas from the Old Testament, one is from the Book of Numbers. The other is from the Book of Genesis. Here is Numbers 6:24-26. They are words that God spoke to Moses, for Moses to tell the people. *LORD is a special name for God. People that agreed to love and obey him used it.
v24 The *LORD *bless you and keep you.
v25 The *LORD make his face to shine on you, and be *gracious to you.
v26 The *LORD lift up his face on you, and give you *peace.
Who does God (and Moses) mean by "you" in these verses from Numbers? In the beginning, it was the Israelites, the people that Moses led from Egypt to the Promised Land of Israel. But if we read Genesis 12:3 we find that God said to Abram (who became Abraham), "Because of you I will *bless all the families on the earth". This means everybody!
So Christians believe that in Psalm 67 God is saying this. "When people see the good things that I have done for my people, they will become my servants too!"
What Psalm 67 means
Before verse 1 it says that the music leader must use *stringed instruments. These are to make music. A psalm is a song with music from instruments as well as voices.
Verse 1: There are three words or groups of words in this verse that are very important. They are:
· Be gracious: this means "be kind when you do not have to be kind". God should *punish (hurt) us because we do not obey his rules (*sin). Because he is gracious, he does not do this. He gives us time to say that we are sorry. If we do this, then he *forgives us. This means that he gives our *sin to Jesus. When Jesus died on Calvary, he took our *sin away. God *punished Jesus for our *sin. God will not *punish us if we ask him to *forgive us. Jesus never did anything wrong. He was not a *sinner. But God *punished him for our *sin.
· *Bless us: this means "give good things to us". In the Old Testament, the things are "*harvest things". When you plant a seed, it grows into something. A seed in a woman grows into a baby. The right sort of seed in the ground grows into something that you can eat. When God *blesses someone, it means that they have a lot of children and plenty to eat. The fruits that grow in the ground we call the "harvest". So, this verse asks God to give us children and food … and plenty of other things also!
· Make your face to shine: this means the same as "be *gracious and *bless". It is an example of Hebrew poetry. The two parts of the verse mean the same. When God is angry he looks away from us. When he is not angry he looks towards us. He is happy and his face shines! Maybe it means that God has a big smile on his face!!
Verse 2: If the "us" in verse 1 means the Israelites, verse 2 means that when God *blesses the Israelites, then the whole world will know about God. It will also know that he can save them too. "Save" here means "make safe while we live on this earth, and after we die".
Verse 3: This verse is a "refrain" or "chorus". It comes again in verse 5, and in a different way in verse 7.
Verse 4: Again we find the idea that we found in verse 2. If people see that God is good to the Israelites, then he will be good to everyone! "People" in this verse probably means "God’s people, the Israelites". "The nations" are people from other countries that are not Israelites. The word "joy" means what you feel deep inside you when you are very happy.
Verse 5: This repeats verse 3. We call this kind of repeat in a song a "refrain" or "chorus". Christian songs often have choruses.
Verse 6: In Hebrew poetry, the two parts of a verse often mean the same. Here is another good example. Remember, there was one in verse 1. "Bless" means "Give a *harvest" - either children, or fruit, or many other things.
Verse 7: God does many things that show that he is very powerful. This makes many people afraid. If people love God, they are not afraid in a bad way, but in a good way. We call this being "in *awe" of God. Awe is a good sort of fear! Fear is another word for "being afraid".