God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously,And govern the nations on earth. Selah Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. (Psalm 67)
For most people the celebration of Christmas is now little more than a fading memory. The days, weeks, or even months of preparations are over.
For believers in Christ, however, Christmas is an on-going reminder of how God selflessly sent His only-begotten Son into this world of sin to save us. But it is sad to see how quickly the selfless spirit evaporates as soon as the day of Christmas is gone. This is magnified by the national holiday that follows one week after the celebration of Christmas—the celebration of a new year on our secular calendars.
Think about it. What is generally the focus of the people of this world on the dawn of a new year? Is it not generally about oneself? Of the ten top new year’s resolutions, most—if not all—are focused on “me.” “What can I do to make my life better?”
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not a bad goal to try to get out of debt, get into shape, or learn something new. God wants us to be good stewards of the gifts He has given us—money, health, and intellect.
But of even greater importance is our stewardship of God’s Word—in particular, the message of salvation which is for all people!
This isn’t just a New Testament concept. It has always been God’s desire, even back in the days of the Old Testament.
Consider the divinely inspired “Mission Statement” of Psalm 67.
Consider how God carried this out in the Old Testament. He repeatedly brought Old Testament Gentiles to faith through the preaching and witness of His people.
A Canaanite harlot in the city of Jericho was brought to trust in the Lord and His promise of a coming Savior; a woman of Moab followed her mother-in-law to the land of Israel and came to know the true God. The Lord sent the prophet Obadiah to the people of Edom, Jonah to the people of Assyria, and Daniel to the land of Babylon. Many of those Gentiles (like the Magi, for example, who came from the East to see and worship the King of kings) came to believe in the true God and His promise of a coming Savior from sin.
It is important to note that the Lord wants to use those who already know Him as His witnesses to those who do not.
Consider how the Lord used the witness of Elijah to bring about the confession of the widow of Zarephath: “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth”
(1 Kings 17:24).
Remember how the Lord used a little girl as His ambassador to Naaman the Syrian, so that Naaman proclaimed, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel…your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord” (2 Kings 5:15,17).
This is still true today. You and I are Christ’s ambassadors to the unbelieving world!
Let the prayer of Psalm 67 be our own: “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us— Selah.” This is not a selfish request, but a request for the Lord’s blessing on others through our preaching of His Word:
“That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.”
Psalm 67 could be called an “Epiphany Psalm,” and it is a fitting prayer as we enter a new calendar year as well. Dear reader, consider your calling as an ambassador of Christ to all people!
May God give us strength and wisdom to carry out our calling effectively, tenaciously, and graciously as He seeks to bring others
into His kingdom through our witness.
“Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You!”