Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Earth Has Yielded

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.
Ps 67:5-7

Both traditional and contemporary name-it-claim-it theologians make false claims for this psalm. Charles Spurgeon, speaking specifically of Ps. 67:6, is a good example: 

"The Church of God needs to get into a better state with regard to her praising her God. When mercy is received, if we accept it silently and without gratitude, we cannot expect to have more. But when every drop of favor makes us bless the Lord who gives to such undeserving ones, we shall soon have more, and yet more, and more!"
Sermon preached on July 5, 1868

Yet I see nothing at all in Psalm 67 connecting the earth yielding its increase to the volume of—or even quality of—our praise. There's no conditional verb here. The only cause and effect lies not in our praise bringing about blessing, but in quite the opposite: The earth has yielded and God has blessed, so let us praise.

God's grace—whether particular grace to those who believe, or general grace to all people—would not be grace if it were earned by our praise or by our good deeds. God does not need my action to bless me, but certainly, in every case, God's blessing requires my response of faithful adoration.

When I am cognizant of your blessing on my life, Lord, let my response be praise. But when I am not cognizant of your blessing, let my response be first to seek out what I have missed, and then to praise all the more. Amen.