“May God be merciful and bless us. May His face smile with favor on us.”
– Psalms 67:1 NLT
Rick Warren reminds us, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” The saint’s past and the sinner’s future meet at the throne of grace. The write of Hebrews tells us, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Heb 4;16 NLT)
The psalmist introduces us to God’s smiling face . . . with His expressions of mercy, blessing and favor.
His Mercy. Spurgeon writes, “It begins at the beginning with a cry for mercy. Forgiveness of sin is always the first link in the chain of mercies experienced by us.”. The prophet Jeremiah understood the redeeming reality of God’s refreshing mercies. He writes, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23 ESV). Our invitation to God’s grace is initiated by His mercy. What a beginning.
His Blessing. When we experience His mercy, we enjoy His blessing. Just as His mercy is renewing, His blessing is revealed. It’s all about His work and not my efforts. William Garnell tells us, “All our enjoyments are but blessings in bullion, till gospel grace and pardoning mercy stamp and make them current.” God provides our pardon and bestows His blessing. David writes, “Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be on Your people! Selah” (Ps 3:8 ESV). We are promised peace in His pardon. Matthew Henry reminds us, “Pardon is conveyed by God’s blessing, and secured in that.”
His Favor. The psalmist cries out, “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.” (Ps 31:16). The result of His shining face is the realization of His saving presence. Gill encourages us that God will “cause His face to shine upon us; that is, grant His gracious presence, and the discoveries of His love.” His face is His favor. His presence is our pursuit.
God’s mercy, blessing and favor is not selfish, but shared. The psalmist tells us, “That Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.” (Ps 67:2 ESV). Spurgeon writes, “It would, however, be very wrong to let our charity end where it begins . . . our love must make long marches, and our prayers must have a wide sweep.
As we have received, we must freely give.