Scripture: Psalm 67
Key verse: (4)
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Reflection: My least favorite subjects in school growing up were History and English. I know. It’s funny that now I am a pastor — a lifelong learner, always reading and writing. I found the beauty in the language and literary techniques scattered throughout the bible. With that being said, I hope to make my English teachers proud as I dive into the structure and beauty of this psalm. The structure of this psalm is to emphasize the central point. Can you spot the sequence of ideas? The identical invitations of verse 3 and 5 envelope the central verse describing God’s just character. The invitations to “all the peoples” to praise God is enveloped by the affirmations of God’s blessing on Israel. It is the blessing that takes us back to Abraham, yet it is Israel (the blessed nation) that is called to surround “all nations” with blessing. This mirrored structure (inverted parallelism or chiasm) around a central idea draws your attention to verse 4. The call to praise God for all God has blessed “us” with is in response to God’s equitable judgement of the people and God’s guidance to the nations. In other words, “let all people praise God because God has established justice among the people with equity and guides the nations in their judgement.” Justice and equity seem to be words that are part of our everyday conversation, as they should be. What does justice and equity mean to you? How might we be guided by God in our search for both? Establishing justice is the responsibility and product of both human and divine agency. Our world seems to be crying out to God to bring equity and justice to our streets, and through those cries we are being called to act on behalf of others in response to God’s goodness and grace that God has freely blessed us with. I wonder how we may hear this song with new ears today. I wonder how we might be glad and sing for joy in these days as we work for equity for all peoples and engage consistently in recapturing the biblical vision of racial and ethnic fairness for all peoples.
Prayer: You have blessed me, O God, and for that I give you thanks and praise. Guide me in blessing others, so that all peoples may sing for joy and be glad in the equity of your judgement. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].