APOSTOLIC SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
WEEK THREE EXERCISE PAPER
SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
SUBMITTED TO DR. NATHANIEL WILSON
LEADERSHIP THEOLOGY OF MISSION
DONALD HAYMON II
Psalm 67:1–7 (KJV 1900) — 1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; And cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. 2 That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations. 3 Let the people praise thee, O God; Let all the people praise thee. 4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: For thou shalt judge the people righteously, And govern the nations upon earth. Selah. 5 Let the people praise thee, O God; Let all the people praise thee. 6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; And God, even our own God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; And all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
In a macrocosmic consideration of the work and intervention of the God of the universe in this present age, the normal psychological hard-wiring of human reflection causes one to study the course of history and its indicators for significance in the future. How did we arrive at our present status, in relation to God? When did it all start? Is there a place or position (geographically, spatially, spiritually, etc.) where God is more readily available to intervene? Does God have a plan and how does it culminate in past, present, and future?
In a microcosmic consideration of God’s dealings with the world, the spotlight of reflection turns inward. What would God have me do to live in accordance with harmony and fellowship with His Spirit? How can I be sure that there is proper alignment between Himself and myself?
Thus far in the course “A Theology of Mission,” both considerations (macro- and microcosmically) have been given remarkable satisfaction in that God, although He’s shifted methods through the ages, has never shifted His ultimate goal. That goal, interwoven through Scripture, may be summarized by the phrase “the promise of blessing.” Indeed a “golden thread” throughout the pages of the Bible, this “promise-plan,” not unlike Christ’s unbroken bloodline, though occasionally beneath the surface of the historical fabric, finds glorious prominence in places like Psalm 67. This remarkable Psalm gives dynamic vision to the international mission and importance of Israel’s stewardship of God’s “promise of blessing.” As found in at least eight other Psalms, this Psalm is filled with missionary preaching.
Verse one states, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; And cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.” This is a petition for God to do what He did before He even named Adam and Eve, He blessed them! (Genesis 5:2) This is a bold request, and, taken alone, may be perceived as rather selfish or self-serving by the supplicant; however, it is essential for this prayer to be answered for mission to be accomplished, as outlined in succeeding verses.
Verse two bears the effect to verse one’s cause: “That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” This is the “faucet effect.” As Lawrence of Arabia explained to the natives when he presented running water to the uncivilized culture, “the magic is not in the faucet!” Essentially, there’s a garden that needs to be watered! There are bodies that need to be bathed! There is dirty laundry that needs washing! The message in verse two to the great benefactor God is this, “Lord, your blessing, all stored up in Heaven’s reservoir, your celestial aquifer, does the dry, thirsty, dirty world no good unless you mediate it to your people!”
God’s “way” in this context is His salvific provision available to all mankind. There is one “way” to God traceable through all dispensations of the Bible: faith, obedience, and blood. This “way” is translated from a Hebrew word that means road, pathway, or manner. To be ignorant of access to God’s manner is to be forever outside fellowship with Him! God’s blessing provides the linkage between His love for all mankind and Himself. It is crucial to any meaningful missional effort.
Verses three and four say, “Let the people praise thee, O God; Let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: For thou shalt judge the people righteously, And govern the nations upon earth. Selah.” This is indeed God’s universal goal, to be worshipped in spirit (gladness and joy) and in truth (due to His righteous judgment). There is no higher, nor worthy purpose to human existence than the ultimate Divine intent for the creation to pay homage, pay obeisance, give praise to the Creator!
Verses five through seven state, “Let the people praise thee, O God; Let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; And God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; And all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” Here we clearly see the culmination of the answered prayer of verse one. The cyclical effect is astounding! When God blesses His mission-minded people (Israel at the point of the Psalmist’s writing), they have a very sobering responsibility to be conduits of that blessing to the world at large. When the world at large is blessed, it becomes liberated to praise God! When the earth enjoys a liberated ecology, it abounds in productive efficiency beyond comprehension! God is praised on every hand, by everything in existence. Everything stands in awe at the might of the God who made it all and knows best how to maintain it all. Truly, all this is due to the penetration of the Gospel into the innermost being of God’s creation.
In conclusion, Psalm 67 is thought to have been sung at the Feast of Weeks down through the generations leading up to the celebration of the same holy day following Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. This was one and the same as the Day of Pentecost initial outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon “all flesh!” Could there be any coincidence, or is this Psalm truly a timeless message of the hope that both applies to today, as well as awaits Divine international dealings after the “Jacob’s Trouble?” Resoundingly, it is a measured, purposeful, and timely “song” which reminds the ready reader that God’s “promise-plan” is secure!