Written by: Tim Wood

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—2 so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. 3 May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. 5 May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. 6 The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. 7 May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

It is the nature of God to bless us. I love verse 6 of this Psalm, “God, our God, blesses us.”  However we need to understand that God’s purpose in blessing us is greater than we think. His ultimate goal encompasses far more than simply making us happy, peaceful, protected, and prosperous. In fact, it’s never the Lord’s intention for His blessings to end with us. Rather, He wants them to flow out to others as part of His plan for the whole earth.

The first two verses splice together two of the most important texts in the Hebrew Scripture: the Aaronic benediction (the benediction by Aaron) and the promise to Abraham. Aaron’s benediction is found in Numbers 6:22-23, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.” The other text verses 1 and 2 refer to is God’s promise to Abraham, because God said to Abraham, “I will bless you that you might be a blessing to all the nations on the face of the earth.” Look. It’s a splicing together of these two things: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us …” Why? “… That your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”

Here’s the principle. This is the fact: God never blesses you except that you might be a blessing to others. God never blesses you just to fill up your happiness tanks, so whenever you want you can go and dip out and have a drink. Rather, God blesses you to fill up the tank of the engine of your life, and fuel you, and compel you to go out into the world in sacrificial service. God’s blessing has to be shared or it spoils, like the Manna in the wilderness. The Lord blesses us so that His salvation, His ways, and His justice may be known by every nation and people group around the globe (verses 3-4 and 7). He’s always acting with this larger picture in mind—even while working personally in each believer’s life.

Knowing this should fill us with an awesome yet humbling sense of significance. Every Christian has a part in helping others know and understand the one true God. Each blessing that benefits us personally is also intended to help further His plans for the kingdom. On the other hand, we sometimes may not receive things we want because they don’t contribute to God’s higher purpose. But if we fit our requests into the Lord’s greater plans, we position ourselves to be used mightily by Him.

When your Father blesses you, He’s not only doing something for you; He’s also doing something in and through you to affect the lives of others. Don’t let the pleasures and comforts of His blessings blind you to their intended purpose. Ask the Lord how to use His kindnesses as a way to point people to Him.