PSALM 67  – Make Your Face Shine Upon Us (ESV) or
          The Shining Face of God (title from James Montgomery Boice)
“God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us—“ v. 1
What a remarkable event: to see the face of God!  Only heaven will allow that glorious event to take place.  It makes me wonder… Do I long for heaven? Do I long to see the Lord face to face?  I can honestly say I do long for the Lord to come and I long to see Him face to face and thank Him for all that He has done for me.  What about you? Take a few minutes to think about these questions.
This psalm is very short; it’s only 7 verses, but has much to say about God’s blessings and how we should be praising Him.  Let’s start first with the Ryrie Study Bible notes: This psalm of thanksgiving invokes God’s continued blessing on Israel so that the nations may experience His salvation, justice, and bounty, and so praise Him. In verse 6, the earth has yielded an abundant harvest giving assurance of a future blessing. “The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God blesses us.  God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him” (vs. 6-7).
This leads us on to James Montgomery Boice’s notes from his 2nd volume: regarding the structure of Psalm 67, it has three stanzas (vs. 1-2, 3-5 and 6-7) of which the second is both the longest and the core around which the rest of the psalm is built.  It is the “missionary” (or witnessing) part (p. 545).
God’s Blessing on Israel: this psalm begins and ends with the prayer that God might bless Israel and that the God of Israel might be known and feared among the Gentiles (vs. 1 & 7) (p. 545). Also, the shinning face of God is to be thought of as God’s entering into a personal, gracious relationship with this people, is made abundantly clear in verve 2.  For the purpose of the blessing on Israel is that “your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all the nations”—that is, that the Gentiles may come to possess the same blessing possessed by Israel, which is to KNOW GOD, or to put it in other words, it is that the nations of the world might COME TO HEAR AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL and so BE SAVED (p. 546).   Wow!  That’s amazing!  Israel is blessed and called to be a witness so that we, the Gentiles, can be saved.  Truly, the Lord has not rejected Israel, but has set her aside for a short time to build His church.  One day after the church is taken up to heaven, the Lord will turn back to Israel and fulfill all His promises to her (Rom. 9-11).
God’s Blessing on the Nations: Yet how are the nations of the world to get to know God?  How is this great blessing to be known throughout the earth?  This questions is raised inescapably by stanza two (vs. 3-5), which is a prayer for God’s blessing on the nations parallel to the prayer for his blessing on Israel in stanza one (p. 546).  These verses ask that the Gentiles might come to know and praise God, that they might understand his just dealings among the earth’s peoples, that they might be informed of his ways.  But how is this to happen?  How are the nations to get to know God?” (p. 546).  One way is by their observing THE POWER OF GOD IN HIS PEOPLE.  Does your life show forth the presence of God within? Does anyone ever look at you and think, “God certainly makes a difference for that Christian.”  Another way is THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD THROUGH HIS PEOPLE.  It is clear that we must tell others.  A great hindrance to evangelism today is the church’s failure to give evidence of the power of God in each individual and in her corporate life. But an equally great problem is our failure simply to do evangelism itself, our failure to tell others about God (p. 547).  What about you?  Do you tell others about the Lord?  Do you share God’s Word with them?  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17.  Truly, that’s where the power comes from through the Word of God.  We must share it.  Now that’s convicting.
Blessings Now and Later: the third and final stanza of this psalm is a bit surprising in one respect, its mention of God causing the land to yield a good harvest (vs. 6).  Nothing has been said about harvests or any other specific material blessing thus far in the psalm, and we wonder why this seems to be thrown in. The answer is probably that if material blessings are to be thought of at all, the most evident place they can be seen is in an abundant harvest.  The desire of the people is that God will bless them there so that the surrounding nations may see how God provides for a people who love him and seek to walk in his ways (p. 549).  We may ask ourselves, what about me?  Do I love Him and seek to walk in His ways?  Do my blessings magnify Him in my life?  Do I tell others of His goodness so they know that it comes from Him?
The Greatest Blessing: truly, the greatest blessing will be to see God, which takes us back to the beginning of the psalm and its prayer that God might “be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us.” Do you remember the prayer of Moses found in Exodus 33?  Moses made three requests in that prayer: first, that God would teach him his way so that he might know him and continue to find favor with him; second, that God would remain with the people and never take this presence from them; and third, that he might look on God’s face and see his glory (vs. 12-18).  God granted the first two of those requests.  He even said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.  I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  But…you cannot see my face, for no one may see Me and live” (Ex. 33:19-20).  That is profoundly true, of course.  No sinner, however devout or pious, as Moses was, can possibly look upon the face of God and survive that holy, piercing sight.  But one day we shall!  We shall look upon God in the day when all his redeemed people, drawn from every tribe and tongue and nation and purged of even the slightest taint of sin, stand before his glorious throne to sing praises to the almighty God and to the Lamb.  In that day God’s face will shine upon us in the fullest measure—we will see him “face to face”—the ultimate vision anticipated by Psalm 67 will be ours.  In that day our joy will be even greater because great multitudes from all the nations of the earth will be praising God with us (p. 550-551).
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this glorious day.  Come Lord Jesus, come!
Personal notes by Lisa Patton (Bible notes from Ryrie, MacArthur and Boice)