Meditatio – Psalm 67

Psalm 67

God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us— Selah.
That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For You will judge the peoples with uprightness
And guide the nations on the earth. Selah.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
The earth has yielded its produce;
God, our God, blesses us.
God blesses us,
That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

John Piper’s book, Let The Nations Be Glad, is entitled and themed after this psalm. A marvelous work. The psalm’s statement, “Let the nations be glad,” is followed by “for You judge the people with uprightness (or equity) and guide the nations on the earth.” The reason for national gladness in the God of Israel is because He judges and guides them

He judges and guides them now. I had initially thought that the reason for “let the nations be glad” was because God would lead them eventually into equity and eventually guide them. What, with all the tyranny and injustice on every side, it would seem that it is not true that God judges uprightly and presently guides the nations. Perhaps the exact opposite is true for the present, so maybe eventually God will judge the nations with equity and guide the nations of the earth. But the verse gives as the reason for the nations praise of God is because He judges with equity and guides them. That is, He judges and guides presently. It does not say He will eventually, but that He does.

He judges and guides nations.  Some would say that God no longer deals with nations but with individuals. Is therefore, this verse of no effect? Should the verse, along with Piper’s thesis, be modified to mean individuals? Perhaps a “nations” Hebrew word-study would render the term to have meant individual people within nations. If so, then what gladness can be given or hoped for among the nations of the earth? If God no longer deals with nations, then no longer can we tell them to be glad in the Lord. And since the opposite of joy is something approximating despair, the command should then be to let the nations despair for God no longer judges you with equity or guides you.

If, however, we have no evidence that God has changed the approach of his sovereignty over the nations, then he still must be judging the nations with uprightness and guiding them on the earth. Therefore, they have an obligation to rejoice in him and to follow his leading. Who does? “All the nations of the earth.” Indeed, “Let all the peoples praise You, O God. Let all the peoples praise You.” God rules the nations, even now. It is not that they should obey him; it is rather that they already do. The psalm merely calls upon them to recognize that and give God praise for it. And so we are all called to do so. Let us praise the God who judges all nations justly and guides them on the earth – even, and especially, in times when the world, when nations, and when governments seem to be driven by anything other than God, uprightness, and equity.

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