This Psalm is often referred to as a “Missionary Psalm.” That’s because it cares about the salvation of the entire world. It begins with a prayer for God’s blessings on “us”, God’s people, and explains that God’s blessings are desired so that other’s will see and would then also come to faith in and accept God’s salvation. The first verse reads, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah…” (think about it!) Why do we pray for God’s blessings on our lives? Verse 2 answers, “…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” This is very similar to the Priestly blessing that Aaron pronounced upon the people in Numbers chapter 6 as the people were being sent into take the land. He was to say, ““The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (vv. 24-26).

I really like how Boice explains this blessing. He writes, “A shining face is the opposite of an angry or scowling face, and a face turned toward someone is the opposite of a face turned away in indifference or disgust.” Aaron was pronouncing a blessing on the people who would live in a world of unbelievers so that they would let their lights shine. But it also is a blessing from the “blessed” people upon those living around them. Boice goes on, “A shining face implies favor, the favor of the one whose face is shining, and it implies the friendliness of warm personal relationships too.”

The real prayer is not for physical blessings in the world but for a warm, loving relationship with God that’s attractive to an unbelieving world. The physical blessings we ask for are really insignificant in many ways. What is most attractive about the true disciple is his or her relationship with their God. Jeremiah said it well, ““Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.”

May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and through you to everyone you meet today!

The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him. (Psalm 64:10)