Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Evangelism of Being Blessed

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.
(Psalm 67:1-2)
Here is a benediction with which we can bless ourselves. It echoes the Aaronic blessing found in Numbers 6:22-27. The Hebrew word for “mercy” used here literally means to bend or stoop. It carries the idea of being gracious and showing favor. The word for “bless” literally means to kneel. When man blesses God, it is an act of adoration; when God blesses man, it is an act of favor and kindness. The blessing of God releases His power and goodness on our behalf.

The benediction, both here and in Numbers, calls for God to “cause His face to shine upon us,” to be bright and luminous towards us. We desire the presence of God, and for Him to look favorably upon us. Show us the glory of Your face, Lord.

In the mind of the psalm writer, being blessed has an evangelistic purpose: “That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” When we are blessed, it is a revelation of God’s glory to the rest of the world.

The way of the Lord is the method of His operation, the manner of His thoughts, the workings of His heart. It is the expression of His purposes and desires. His way is seen in His Word and in His works. His ways are not our ways; they are different, and operate at a higher level (Isaiah 55:8-9). But He delights to reveal them to us. He showed them to Moses (Psalm 103:7) and here we see that He desires to reveal His way to all the earth, for His way is a way of mercy and blessing.

The Hebrew word for “salvation” here is yeshuah. It is deliverance from whatever has you bound. As a name, it translates into English as “Jesus.” The blessing comes so that Jesus — the ultimate expression of salvation — may be revealed.

The blessing God has for you is not just for you alone; it is a gateway for God to bring His salvation to all the world. Do not shy away from asking God to bless you, as some have done, for someone is waiting to see if it is real in your life before they give their life to God.

The blessing of God is bigger than you and me. It is an abundance that reveals His way on earth and His salvation even to the nations. The evidence of God’s presence and favor in your life sheds a light that attracts others.