Bible study 9. A blessing for the world

STUDY 9             

From Bible Reading Fellowship “New Daylight” daily readings.

Contributed by Stephen Rand retired minister and worker for Tear Fund.

Start with opening prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. 

A Blessing for the world

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us – so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, God: may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God: may all the peoples praise you.  

Psalm 67:1-5(NIV)

Do the opening words of this psalm sound familiar? God instructed Moses to give Aaron a blessing for the people: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26). In today’s passage, the psalmist echoes those words in his prayer.  I find it enormously rewarding to pray using prayers from the bible saying them for myself and for others. Sometimes we can’t find the words to pray, so it’s great that God has given us ones to use.

The writer not only references the ancient beautiful Aaronic blessing, but also links it with God’s promise to Abraham: ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…………all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’  (Genesis 12;2-3). He underlines an enormously significant truth – God’s blessing is received so that others can be blessed.

That’s true for us individually – we are never meant to just lie back and enjoy God’s blessings, but to be energised and blessed again as we share them with others. We are the channels of God’s peace, not blockages. It’s true also for the church – are we blessing our community with the strength and enthusiasm with which God has blessed us? And is it true for God’s people – they were chosen not because they were special or simply for their own benefit; they were chosen so that God’s ways would be known on earth, his salvation among the nations.   

  1. What a beautiful blessing for God to place upon his chosen people the Jews. The psalmist thought so too and used it centuries later. Stephen Rand says he also uses prayers from the Bible and finds them very rewarding . Should we perhaps follow their ways?  Do you do this?
  1. Abraham is linked to this blessing given to Aaron (Moses brother).  He was to be the start of a great nation – the Jews, God’s chosen people.

Do you feel that they have become a great nation, numerically and in significance in the world?

  1. Note: Stephen Rand’s last sentence in his paragraph 2 “He underlines an enormously significant truth……. So that others can be blessed” Have the Jews obeyed this word from God?

Do you feel that that they have missed or ignored this, particularly as far as the Palestinians are concerned?  Have they failed in other ways? Share your thoughts.

  1. What about us? We are reminded of our own responsibilities in Stephen’s 3rd paragraph, We are not to lie back and enjoy God’s blessings! What can we do? 
  1. And what about your church St Edward’s? Have we blessed the community around us?  Are we and will we reach out in the future?

What can we do, even in older ages, as a “thank you” to our Creator for all our blessings?

Perhaps as part of our responsibilities to the world, in the future, we should keep praying for all who need to know about these blessings. And we should pray for the people of Israel that they will come to know Jesus as their Savior and we can thank Him for the Jews who do know His salvation (Messianic Jews). 

Finish with a prayer and perhaps saying the amazing picture we see in the words from Revelation 7:9-10.