Why We Should Pray for the Lord to Bless Us!July 10, 2023
How many of you want God's blessings and favor upon your life?
Are you hesitant to pray for God to bless your life because you feel it's selfish? Admittedly, many do pray a selfish prayer like --"Lord, bless me my wife, John and his wife, us four and no more." Far too many Christians have adopted the modern view that it is one’s right to blessings and prosperity to use in any way that will make them feel happy, satisfied and fulfilled. The prevalent attitude is, “God chose me because of me for the sake of me so that I could enjoy me while the world revolves around me. If you have any questions, just ask me.”
In contrast to selfish believers asking for blessings for personal consumption are those believers who do not boldly ask God in faith to bless them because they struggle with the concept of living in, by, and from God’s grace. They have such a deep sense of unworthiness that their mindset is, “I don’t deserve the least of His favors!” DUH! Of course you don’t that is what grace is all about! They pray for others to be blessed, but are hesitant to pray for themselves to be blessed because they don’t understand the depth of God’s love and God’s grace for them and want to feel like they can do something to earn His blessings.
Psalm 67 tells us that we most definitely should seek God's blessings and informs us of why and how we should pray for them.
What exactly are we asking for when we ask for blessings? The most common Old Testament Hebrew word translated “bless” is the word “barak,” means, "to bow with bended knee in order to express awe and worth." In the New Testament, the word “bless” often translates “makarios”, meaning “blessed, fortunate, happy.”
A great definition of the meaning of the "blessing of God" is given by John Calvin, as he notes: “The blessing of God is the goodness of God in action, by which a supply of all good pours down to us from His favor, as from its only fountain.” God wants us to believe that He is the God of the overflow, of abundance, of great grace and generosity.
Palm 67 majors in an area where the Church has often minored -- earnestly, persistently, and believingly, seeking God's blessings.
The Lord wants “a supply of all good pouring down to us from His favor, as from its only fountain” for numerous reasons and we are going to explore these from Psalm 67. We should pray for and expect God to bless us because:
1. The Most Supreme God that We Worship -- Ps 67:1
God, our God, is the Blessed and the Blesser! Paul writes in 1 Tim 1:11, "... the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted."
In Psalm 67, the noun and pronoun for God is used 11 times in 7 verses.
A. God's Presence Known Personally is God's Purpose for all Peoples -- 67:1
"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah." One translation reads: “The Lord turn His face toward you.” The expression "make His face shine upon you" means to show his face and favor, look cheerfully on his people, declare himself well pleased with them in Christ, and appear as smiling upon them through him, blessing them with HIMSELF! God’s face is the personal manifestation of His loving presence. One’s face speaks a language all its own and when God says his face is toward his people, it means he has given them the ultimate blessing -- HIMSELF! The goal of the gospel is God. The reward of faith is not things, but God.
What’s the best, the most beautiful, helpful, loving, generous, glorious, long-lasting, life-impacting thing God can give the nations of the world? Answer – HIMSELF! And He intends to give Himself to the nations through those of us who have been rescued by His mercy and ravished by the majesty, the mystery, and the meaningfulness of His love.
What is the primary incentive for sharing the gospel? Some would answer, love for lost souls; others the reality of hell and the prospects of heaven. Others would say because of the peace and joy that knowing Christ brings. But the first and foremost incentive is that we are captured by the majesty of our God and worship Him in such a manner as to magnify the Glory of His Grace and Mercy to us and through us to All Peoples. The ultimate goal of evangelism is not saving sinners, but the gladness of the people in the glory of God. Ps 97:1, “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” Then in our text from Ps 67:2, "that your way may be known (yada= to know personally and intimately) on earth, your saving power among all nations."
John Piper was on target when he said, “God is pursuing, through His redeemed people, with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of his name among the nations.” We should be crying out, "Bless us Lord, SO THAT we can spread the Fame of Your Name to the all the nations SO THAT they also can be Glad in God!
The Great Commission is not first to go, but to be glad in God -- “delight yourself in the LORD” (Ps. 37:4) and then as you're going declare, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (Ps. 67:4). In this way, God will be glorified from beginning to end, and worship will motivate and empower the missionary assignment until the coming of the Lord.
"Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." Revelation 15:3-4
Worship is not a gathering. It is not a song service or sitting under preaching and teaching. Worship is essentially an inner stirring of the heart to treasure God above all the treasures of the world. It means to adore Him, and to prize, pursue, praise, follow, fear, and love Him above all persons or things!
B. God's Purpose Is to Be Praised in All the Nations!
Psalm 67 teaches us four things concerning God's Purpose:
- To be known: 67:2 - "That thy way may be known on the earth."
- To be praised: 67:3 - "Let the peoples praise thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise thee."
- To be enjoyed: 67:3 - "Let the nations be glad and sing for joy."
- To be feared: 67:7 - "That all the ends of the earth may fear him."
God is jealous to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared. He is displeased when people are ignorant of him or disrespectful to him or bored around him or improperly casual in his presence.
For the Christian praise is the pinnacle of satisfaction that comes from living in fellowship with Christ. For God, praise is the sweet echo of his own excellence in the hearts of his people. Praise is the appropriate response of the person who has come to appreciate the majesty, the mystery, the might, the ministry, and the mercy of our Great God.
May God look at you, or turn his face toward you. May you enter into a face-to-face relationship with Him, a place of presence and intimacy. This is the blessing of all blessings! -- to know, praise, enjoy and fear God!
C. God Wants People to Know Him for the Solitary, Supreme, Sovereign God that He Is!
What God wants people to know about him is that He is a God of justice, a God of power, and a God of grace.
- He is a Gracious Savior -- A God of grace: verse 1-2—"God be gracious to us and bless us." "Your way and salvation be known"
- He is a Righteous Judge -- A God of justice: verse 4—"Thou wilt judge the peoples with uprightness."
- He is the Sovereign King -- A God of power: verse 4—"[Thou wilt] guide the nations on the earth."
The God of the Bible is Completely Righteous, Inexhaustibly Powerful, Absolutely Truth, Eternally Unchangeable, Gloriously Holy, Infallibly Wise, and Infinitely Loving! There is only one true and living God and he wills to be known by all the peoples of the world. And that means to be known subjectively, personally, scripturally with joy and praise and fear, and known objectively as being one kind of God and not another, i.e. being just and powerful and gracious.
Psalm 67 provides no liberty for any other gods. The Allah of Islam is not the God of Christians. The gods of new age spirituality so common today is not the solitary, sovereign true God of Scripture. God wants to be known and will be known for who he really is: just and gracious and powerful, so that our praise and joy and fear are rooted in reality not imagination; in divine revelation and not in demonic imitations, so as to really and truly show God's worth and glory.
2. The Most Scriptural Praying in the World -- Psa 67:2:
"that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations."
Knowing that God wills to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared for who he really is, the psalmist's response is to pray that God would bless Israel in such a way that God really would be known among the nations. Notice that the psalmist turns the promise into a prayer, which is what we should do with God's promises.
The main point of the psalm is the connecting word between verses 1 and 2 found in the word "that." He prays, "God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known on the earth, thy salvation among all nations."
So, the most scriptural praying we can do is to ask God to bless us, His people, so that we can be a blessing, not just next door, but for the sake of the nations.
God sovereignly selected Israel, making them His own SPECIAL people. He gave them the best system for success in every area of life that the world has ever known. As a result they became the healthiest, wealthiest nation in the history of the ancient world. Just as God promised they became the head and not the tail, the lender and not the borrower. But somewhere along the way they began to idolize their system of law, ritualize their style of worship, and organize their way of life around their material successes and special status as the chosen of God, and in so doing, left out two little words of God’s covenant with them – SO THAT. They forgot that the reason for their being selected, given special provisions and position, and incredible success, and wealth and health was so that they might be a blessing and show the nations around them the mercy, majesty, and might of their glorious God. The exclusion of God’s SO THAT continued generation after generation so that when Jesus appeared -- the One promised and prophesied, the fulfillment of all that had God mandated and symbolized in their way of life and worship – they said in essence – SO WHAT! Our Messiah won’t be a man of mercy but a man of military might. He will not be a suffering Savior but a successful Sovereign that will break the yoke of Rome from off our necks and once more make the world revolve around us! Forgetting the SO THAT of God's blessings resulted in the SO THEN judgment of God, in which He took the kingdom from them and gave it to a nation bearing the fruits of it (Mt 21:43).
Here's the unbreakable, inescapable truth: If we, God’s people, miss the SO THAT of the reason for His saving, blessing, and prospering us, we will assume that it is our right to be blessed, prospered and pampered, and the result will be a SO WHAT attitude toward God and His purpose of having all the peoples of all the nations prize and praise Him. Then we will find ourselves experiencing the SO THEN of God's burying us and raising up another generation that will embrace His SO THAT!
So it is most likely that God will bless us the fullest and most frequently when we are planning and longing and praying to bless the nations. Once more, I quote Dr. John Piper: "If God wants his goods to get to the nations, then he will fill the truck that's driving toward the nations. He will bless the church that's pouring itself out for unreached peoples of the world. And this blessing is not payment for a service rendered; it's power and joy for a mission to accomplish. When we move toward the unreached peoples, we are not earning God's blessings, we are leaping into the river of blessings that is already flowing to the nations."
3. The Most Shareable Message in the World -- Ps 67:3-5:
"Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!"
No wonder the Holy Spirit inspired the NT writers to title this message the "GOSPEL" which means good news!
We proclaim: "Nations be glad in God and sing for joy! We've got a message so great, good, and glorious, and we've been so blessed by it that we cannot keep the "Good News" to ourselves. So we "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!" (Ps 96:3)
Ps 105:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Ps 97:1 The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
Ps 70:4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, "God is great!"
For us on the New Covenant side of the gospel, we need to keep before us the reminder that the word gospel is a Greek word that means good, merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that makes a man’s heart glad and makes him sing, leap, and dance for joy. The Bible reveals that the gospel of God is a good news announcement of total victory, great power, and endless provision. People living in Jesus’ day would quickly recognize and understand the “gospel” because it was "a technical term for "news of victory."
The gospel, as revealed in the Bible, is good news about what God has done through His Son, Jesus, the Christ, and not good advice about what we are supposed to do! So be glad -- not in military might or monetary amounts, but in God!
4. The Most Successful Measure of Our Witness -- Ps. 67:6-7
"The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!"
In commenting in Ps 67:6-7, C.H. Spurgeon said: "Our prayer and labor should be, that the knowledge of salvation may become as universal as the light of the sun. Despite the gloomy notions of some, we cling to the belief that the kingdom of Christ will embrace the whole habitable globe, and that all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for this glorious consummation we agonize in prayer.
He goes on to say, "The prayer of the first verse is the song of the last. We have the same phrase twice, and truly the Lord's blessing is manifold; he blesses and blesses and blesses again. How many are his beatitudes! How choice his benedictions! They are the peculiar heritage of his chosen. He is the Savior of all men, but specially of them that believe. In this verse we find a song for all future time. God shall bless us is our assured confidence; he may smite us, or strip us, or even slay us, but he must bless us. He cannot turn away from doing good to his elect. And all the ends of the earth shall fear him. The far off shall fear. The ends of the earth shall end their idolatry, and adore their God. All tribes, without exception, shall feel a sacred awe of the God of Israel. Ignorance shall be removed, insolence subdued, injustice banished, idolatry abhorred, and the Lord's love, light, life, and liberty, shall be over all, the Lord himself being King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen, and Amen.
a. This Prayer must be constant on our lips - Oh, Lord, let your way be known. Let your salvation be known. Let praise arise to you from all the peoples. Let joy overflow from the hearts of the nations. Show yourself a Gracious Savior, the Righteous Judge, and a Sovereign King that can powerfully guide all peoples into gladness in God.
b. This Purpose must captivate our lives -- Bless us that we may bless the nations.
c. This Promise must compel risk-taking, life-giving, death-defying confidence in our Lord -- God shall bless us!
Remember God's SO THAT blessings comes to His people as material wealth for the sake of the world’s spiritual worship. That is, he blesses his church with riches for the sake of reaching the nations. He gives a bountiful wheat harvest for the sake of a bountiful world harvest. He gives us more money than we need so that we can meet the world’s greatest need -- the need to know God through Jesus Christ so they too can be glad in God and praise and sing of His glory, grace, and goodness to all creatures here below!
BLESS US LORD SO THAT we may be a blessing to all people groups on the earth as we spread the Fame of Your Name for Your glory and for their joy -- in You!