Theme: A Missionary Psalm
This week’s lessons teach us of God’s gracious intention to call a people for himself from every nation, and of our great privilege and responsibility to make the gospel of Christ known to them.
Scripture: Psalm 67:1-7
Some of the Bible’s psalms are popular, so popular that whenever psalms are mentioned they come immediately to mind, like Psalm 23: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing” (v. 1), or Psalm 14: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ (v. 1). Psalm 67 is not one of them. It is not a well-known psalm. Most of the commentators seem to share this opinion since they deal with it in such brief compass, a page or two perhaps, usually not more. Martin Luther skips the psalm entirely, even though we have five large volumes of his studies of these important compositions.
There is an exception to this neglectful evaluation, however, and that is the treatment Psalm 67 has received from John R. W. Stott, the well-known author and speaker, and former rector of All Souls Church in London. Stott has selected it along with only thirty-seven other psalms for inclusion in his book Favorite Psalms. Why is this? I’m sure it is because Psalm 67 is what one commentator calls “a missionary psalm” and John Stott is very concerned with world missions.
Alexander Maclaren, another commentator, wrote, “This psalm is a truly missionary psalm, in its clear anticipation of the universal spread of the knowledge of God, in its firm grasp of the thought that the Church has its blessings in order to the evangelization of the world, and in its intensity of longing that from all the ends of the earth a shout of praise may go up to the God who has sent some rays of his light into them all, and committed to his people the task of carrying a brighter illumination to every land.”1 Charles Haddon Spurgeon struck a similar note when he said of Psalm 67, “The great theme of the psalm is the participation of the Gentiles in the worship of Jehovah.”2
1Alexander Maclaren, The Psalms, vol. 3, Psalms 39-89 (New York: S.C. Armstrong and Son, 1893), p. 268.
2C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 2a, Psalms 58-87 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1968), p. 129.
Why does John Stott include Psalm 67 in his book of favorite psalms?
How is the psalm a missionary psalm?
Why has the Church received blessings (vv. 1, 2)?
Who praises God in this psalm?