Monday, August 20
A prayer for God’s favor
Scripture: Jeremiah 48-49, Psalm 67, 1 John 1
Psalm 67:1-2 May God be gracious to us and bless us; may he make his face shine upon us so that your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
This psalm echoes the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:24-26. “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
The psalmist begins with a prayer, asking God to be gracious to us, to bless us, to make His face shine upon us. I love the image of the shining face. A king’s face expressed his pleasure or displeasure. Asking God’s face to shine upon us is a vivid visual way of asking God to be pleased with us, to smile on us and to shower us with His favor. The prayer in verse 1 is a prayer for favor, for blessing—there is nothing wrong with asking God to bless us.
But verse 2 quickly reminds us of the purpose of God’s favor. It’s never just about us; it’s so that the world may know Him. Just as the Abrahamic blessing (Genesis 12:2-3) ends with “you will be a blessing” and “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” so this prayer for favor ends with this result: “so that your way will be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” It’s always about God’s glory first, and then so others will know Him. JOY: Jesus Others You!
Pray for God’s blessing and favor! Ask Him to shine His face on you! But don’t make it just about yourself. Ask Him to do it so that He will be known. “Bless me so that others can know You!” Too often our prayers are “bless me, bless me, bless me” with no thought of God or others—just me.
If I make it only about me, I’m not sure that God will answer my prayer. James 4:2–3 “You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” If my motives are selfish, just about me, then God may not give me what I ask for. But if I ask for His glory, for the sake of others, I think that pleases the Lord.
I desperately want God’s favor and blessing. That means I can’t let it end with me or just be about me. It’s ultimately about God’s glory and others knowing Him.
Prayer: May God be gracious to us and bless us; may he make his face shine upon us so that your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.