“That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth.” Psalm 67:2–4
Psalm sixty-seven looks ahead to a day when all the nations of the world will rejoice and sing praises to the God of heaven. For the psalmist this is a prayer, not a reality; a yearning, not an actuality.
Most translations of Psalm sixty-seven link verses one and two together making them a single thought but after considering the literary elements of the verses I believe that verse one should stand alone and verse two ought to be most closely associated with verse three. The interjection “Selah” alone, after verse one, indicates this and the fact that verse one refers to God with the third person possessive pronoun “his”, while verse two uses the second person possessive pronoun “your”, like verses two and three, strengthens my argument.
An interesting, and profound, thing that happens when you organize the verses this way is that the psalm begins to declare that it’s the praise of God’s people that is the tool for making God’s ways and his salvation known throughout the world.
Too much we rely on logic, rational argumentation, and scientific reasoning as the foundational elements of our witness to the neglect of the power of our praise for the one who has done so much for us.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that our experience with God can be, and ought to be, explained logically and rationally, but like the psalmist I believe that it’s our praise for God that’s the strongest component of our witness. In our praise we enthusiastically lift God high in the world declaring his worth and his working in the world. These are things we experience for ourselves; they can’t be measured our quantified, but their reality can be proclaimed and that experience can be shared in our praise.
The works of God that the psalmist wants to declare are God’s judgment and the righteousness of his governance.
In ancient Israel the king played two primary roles: he was a judge and a general. His court was the final court of appeal for any legal decision. He led his people into battle, defending the land from the invader and expanding his nation for the glory of God.
God’s righteousness as a judge is the reason for our praise. The gods of other nations could be as selfish and petty as the people who worshipped them. They could not be trusted to always be right, just or fair. But God is always righteous in his judgment and just in his governance. The world needs to hear us rejoice for the goodness of God and the righteousness of his ways. He’s given us enough reason to boast in his goodness that our praise should be unfeigned and our worship genuine.
God is good, his judgments are just, his ways are right, and the world should hear about it.