>New Year’s Psalm

>It’s amazing how often regular reading straight through the Bible yields scriptural gems that are extraordinarily apt for one’s current circumstances. It frequently seems that the scripture read “just happens” to fit one’s particular trials or times.

In our regular devotional reading through the Psalms, we “just happened” to read Psalm 67 as the new year dawned. Along with one of my all-time favorites, Psalm 90 (which was the text for our church’s New Year’s service), Psalm 67 (ESV) seems particularly appropriate for a new year:

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power 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 judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him!

In a year filled with even more uncertainty than usual, this psalm begins by verbalizing my prayer for God’s blessing in language that reflects God’s ancient and continuing words of covenant faithfulfulness.

The psalm continues by describing the purpose of God’s blessing in his people’s lives: that God’s ways and his salvation may be known throughout the earth and among all nations.

It continues with a prayer that all earth’s people will praise God and all the nation’s will sing for joy because of God’s equitable judgments and his guidance. In every nation throughout the world, God is guiding and directing all events of the new year. His judgments will guide events toward their ultimate fulfillment, when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The psalm concludes with a reminder of the abundance that the earth has yielded; amber grain, brilliant gems, and useful oil, all have been given from God as blessings to humanity. God has blessed his people throughout the centuries and he will continue to bless his people with his providential care throughout the new year. All who dwell to the very ends of the earth do well to fear God by acknowledging his power and sovereignty, and Christ’s salvation and lordship over all of life!

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