The Saints’
“Glorify Thy

a brief study of Psalm 67, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 19 September 2008

Psalm 67 is known as an evangelical psalm. We may call it a Missionary Psalm. It is a Missionary Psalm because it expresses the Messiah and His people’s desire to see the name of God glorified in all the world. This, ultimately, must be the purpose of mission and evangelism of the church of Christ. While compassion must motivate us to bring the Gospel to the lost, our higher goal must still be to see that God’s name is magnified as sinners join us to return praise unto Him.

Psalm 67 expresses this desire. Through it, Christ and His people look expectantly to the heavenly Father for His blessing upon them and upon the world that His name may be exalted in the hearts and lips of men upon the earth.

It is not difficult to see that there are three parts in this psalm. Each part expresses a plea unto God from our heart, followed by an argument or reason for our desire. Let’s look at these three parts one at a time.

The first part is from verse 1-2. Here, our plea unto the Lord—in short—is…

1. Bless Us that All the World
May Know Thy Blessing

1  God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. 

What is our plea? Our plea is that God might look down upon us to show us mercy and to bless us, and to make his face to shine upon us.

We know that we do not deserve God’s favour because we have nothing to commend ourselves to Him. We are but poor and unlovely creatures of dust, whereas He is the infinite God of glory. Indeed, we know that we deserve God’s wrath rather than God’s smile because of our sin against Him.

But our Lord teaches us to go to Him to seek His grace. And so we go. We go boldly because we have the Great High Priest who was tempted at all points like as we are yet without sin. We go on the basis of His righteousness and merit.

We know that He will not reject the intercession of His Son, so we go. Father, bless us for the sake of thy Son. We deserve nothing from Thy hand but Thy wrath, but Thou hast given us Thy Son to live and die for us. We come in His name, pleading His righteousness and merit. Bless and pity us, LORD. Make Thy face to shine upon us. Grant us that we may know Thy heavenly smile through Thy dealings with us. Grant that Thy mercy, blessing and heavenly smile may be evident not only to us, but to all who behold.

But why? Why should it be so?

2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health [or salvation] among all nations.

In other words, bless us not for our sakes for we are nothing and deserve nothing, but bless us that all the earth may know Thee through Thy blessing. Bless and pity us and make Thy face to shine upon us so that the world may know that Thou art a great God of mercy ready to pardon and save. Bless and pity us and make Thy face to shine upon us so that the world may turn to Thee and glorify Thy great name, and so be provoked to seek Thy salvation.

This is the first plea.

The second is like unto the first…

2.  Let All People Bless Thee,
For Thou art Worthy

3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. 4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. 

In our first plea, we ask the LORD to bless and pity us. But here in the second plea, we express our desire that all the world join us to bless the LORD.

Herein is the purpose of the church’s missionary endeavour. We do want people to be saved. We want people to be saved not just because we should have sympathy for the perishing, but because we desire that God’s great name be magnified. We are not satisfied to praise Him alone. We want all the world to join us to praise Him for He is worthy.

A sense of gratitude, and love and adoration for our great God would automatically translate to a deep desire to see His name honoured by all the world.

This is all the more so, because we see that the LORD is worthy of all honour and praise—for we know that He would “judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth [justly].” Indeed, we are convinced that only under the LORD’s kingship will the world experience righteousness and peace.

Therefore, the more we see the chaos and wars, and the greed and wickedness in the world, the more we long to for the day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess allegiance to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, even the Prince of Peace. Wars and political turmoil; economic collapse; chloroform in fish and melamine in milk are just the tip of the ice-berg in the culture of greed and materialism. These things may provoke anger in our heart; but should it not provoke also a longing for the day of peace under the rule of Christ? Only Christ can put an end of all these sorrow. Only in Christ will there be righteousness and justice. 

And so our heart’s desire is that all people praise the LORD, for He is worthy. All who truly worship the LORD will do so only in union with Christ.

But finally, it is also our desire that all people bless the LORD in order that He might bless us together with all the earth.

3. Let All People Bless Thee
that We May Enjoy
Thy Blessing

5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. 6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

In our first plea, we ask the LORD to bless and pity us that His name might be known in all the world. In the second plea, we express our desire that all the world join us to bless the LORD. But now in the third plea, we come through a full circle. We again express our desire that all the world might join us to worship the Lord, for we know that when that happens, not only would the world be blessed, but we especially will experience God’s blessing.

The world may not understand; but as God’s people who have tasted of the goodness of the LORD, we understand.

We have seen how lives are transformed under the beneficent rule of Christ. We have seen how families and societies have benefited from the rule of Christ. We know that even without the extraordinary blessings of the LORD, land cultivated by those whose lives have been transformed by gratitude and prayer would often have a more productive yield. Matthew Henry is correct, isn’t he when he says: “The success of the gospel sometimes brings outward mercies along with it; righteousness exalts a nation.”

The Gospel changes the way that people think and instils an attitude of diligence which must ultimately bear fruit. This is part of the reason why the psalmist can confidently assert: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Ps 37:25).

The effect of the Gospel, when it is felt, is enjoyed not only by those who are newly added to the covenant body, it is also enjoyed by those who are already in it.

The effect of the conversion of the Gentiles, therefore, is as expressed in verse 7—“7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

As sinners are brought into the fold, so those already in the fold enjoy God’s blessing; and those outside, unto the ends of the world, cannot but marvel at the power of the LORD, and so fear him. Or as Calvin puts it:

“…the consequence would be, to increase the fear of [God’s] name, since all ends of the earth would, by what they saw of his fatherly regard to his own, submit themselves with greater cheerfulness to his government.


Psalm 67 is one of our favourite psalms. We have sung it countless time as we look with expectant hearts unto the Lord to bless and pity us. But what many of us do not realise is its evangelical appeal. This psalm, very beautifully, expresses what our attitude should be when it comes to the work of evangelism and missions. The modern idea of missions and evangelism is man-centred, which explains all the man-honouring methods that are often adopted today. The biblical idea of mission and evangelism is God-centred. Even the conversion of man is for the sake of glory of God.

May the Lord help us to serve Him with this attitude which He is enjoining in this psalm that He has given us to sing to praise and petition his Father with Him. Amen.

—JJ Lim