I memorized Psalm 67 in college and I have quoted it many times since, during worship services as well as in other contexts. Recently however, as our pastor read this familiar passage aloud my thoughts were captivated by two of the texts most unassuming words – so that.
In our culture it is easy to focus on God’s blessings. We falsely use His blessings as a means by which we gauge our value, our goodness (or lack of it), His faithfulness to us, or any number of other misappropriations. Over the years, I have heard many prayers focus so much on God’s blessings they miss the so that altogether.
However, God’s blessings and grace are not merely for our comfort or affirmation, nor are they lavished upon us solely as the means through which He demonstrates His love. Rather, we are blessed for the so that! So that; His “ways may be known on the earth”, His saving grace may be made real “among all nations”, and “all the ends of the earth will fear Him”.
God’s blessings certainly are a reflection of His omnipotent love. Yet, we are not blessed simply to be receivers, but also reflectors of His grace.
As I meditated on this passage with fresh eyes I began to find myself asking, “How well am I following through on my so that? Am I using my personal gifts and blessings simply to make myself feel more comfortable, or am I truly seeking an infilling so that I can pour into the lives of others?
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.
1 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.