I want and pray for God to be gracious to me. When however He chooses to answer that prayer at a time of His choosing, will I be ready to respond if it is inconvenient to my plans and desires?

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us,  (Psalm67;1)

When He wakes me at 3:00 am am I willing to get out of bed and receive that blessing? When I have failed to get out of bed, then the next morning I kick myself at the thought that the Lord had this blessing for me and I was not there to receive it. This morning, I am here, ready to hear His voice.

that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.  (Psalm67:2)

I might think of this blessing as a purely personal thing between God and myself, but when He has blessed us, that blessing will pass to others. He begins in us a ripple effect. He throws the stone into the middle of the pond and the waves go out. The wave is only with us for a short time, we forget it and move on. The Lord however has a way of making the fruit of that encounter persist into the lives of others around us, and beyond into the people around them.

The writer sees two ways in which the fruit of this blessing moves on. The first is God’s ways. There is a bit of a difference here between God’s word and His ways. Words bring us to the specifics of God’s intentions for us. We learn in God’s Word, ‘God is love.’ We see examples such as Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, and these illuminate how God loves us. There is however nothing quite like first hand experience of God’s love in our own lives to know experientially that God loves us. It is when I have encountered Jesus that I see His ways. There is a quality here that eludes words, a quality that touches on how I pass on that love. This is why testimony is so important in passing on the faith. It takes me from the rule book to the quality of the person who oversees that rule book, and there I find such words as mercy and grace. Words that are not easily translatable through definitions.

The second way in which the blessing of God’s face moves on from us is through His salvation – a salvation that is more widespread than the salvation of souls. This is a key factor of God’s ways. The way He intervenes in life to save us. How often I have been pulled out of some mess by God’s unfailing love. I am forever grateful.

May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. (Psalm67:3-5)

The central core of this psalm brings out the extent of the fruit of God’s intervention. The people praise Him. Not just the people around us, but the peoples and the nations out there.

Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. (Psalm67:6-7)

The Lord begins this process by making His face shine on us. He ends by bringing fruitfulness.

Many want the fruitfulness and are willing to skip God’s face shining on them in order to get there. We have a tendency of wanting to use God to get what we want from Him. The Lord however is careful to begin the whole process with relationship, and that relationship is often in the unexpected, and even initially unwelcome place.

Maybe it is even stranger to us that the Lord uses precisely that encounter that we struggled to receive in order to bring about the fruitfulness that we both wanted.