The Exodus Book of Psalms--Part 14
Apr 19, 2010
This psalm is also about the completion of Moses' tabernacle in the latter chapters of Exodus. But the theme of Psalm 66 is that the tabernacle/temple is a house of prayer for all people. So verse 4 says,
"All the earth will worship Thee, and will sing praises to Thee; They will sing praises to Thy name. Selah."
Verses 13-15 continue this theme,
(13) I shall come into Thy house with burnt offerings; I shall pay Thee my vows, (14) which my lips uttered and my mouth spoke when I was in distress. (15) I shall offer to Thee burnt offerings of fat beasts, with the smoke of rams; I shall make an offering of bulls with male goats. Selah.
The reference to animal sacrifices, of course, is in terms of the Old Covenant provisions that were appropriate in David's day. We ourselves have a better sacrifice and better offering to make. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all the animal sacrifices.
Yet this psalm proclaims that "all the earth will worship Thee," and this is consistent with all the prophets and apostles who speak of the restoration of all things.
The focus of this psalm is on the glory of the Lord being seen in one's face. Verse 1,
"God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us."
Even as the tabernacle and temple were each filled with the glory of God, so also are we the temple of God and will be filled with His glory. That glory comes in two phases--first the earnest of the Spirit through Pentecost, followed by the fullness of the Spirit through the feast of Tabernacles.
When Moses came off the mount in Exodus 34, his face was glowing. In other words, God's face was shining in and through Moses' face. The feast of Tabernacles achieves a full unity between God; and man, so that man becomes the manifestation of the divine presence.
The Hebrew word for "face" is paniym. It also means "presence." The goal of history is to transform mankind by the very presence of God, so that God's face is seen in man's face. Paul says in 2 Cor. 3:18,
"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Even as Moses was changed by beholding Him, so also are we changed as the veil is lifted from our hearts.
The divine plan, however, is that this goal is to achieved at different times with different people. It is "each man in his own order" (1 Cor. 15:23), first the overcomers, then the church in general, and finally the rest of creation. The overcomers are the firstfruits of the church. The church is the firstfruits of creation (James 1:18). The firstfruits sanctify the rest of the harvest, because once God had been given the required firstfruits, then everyone was allowed to begin the harvest and eat of the new crop (Lev. 23::14).
Paul puts it this way in Romans 11:16,
"And if the firstfruit is holy, the lump (bulk, mass) is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are also."
Hence, when Psalm 67:1 asks God's face to shine upon us and bless us with the divine presence, the purpose and object of this is given to us in the next verse:
"That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations."
The reason all nations are yet in darkness is because they have yet to see the manifestation of the sons of God. They have never been shown the divine presence. Many individuals have seen the face/presence of God in certain believers through the power of Pentecost, but it has not been on a world-wide scale.
The day is coming when the glory of God will be seen in the manifested Sons of God, and then it will be self-evident that God has blessed them with that which all religions desire. And so the great harvest of souls will begin according to biblical pattern seen in the law. Once the firstfruits of the barley have been presented to God, then the world will see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a scale never before seen.
This will not be a time of weeping and wailing, but a time of rejoicing for all nations.
(4) Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou wilt judge the peoples with uprightness, and guide the nations on the earth.
The earth has had its fill of injustice, being ruled by fleshly men and their imperfect laws. Many of these rulers do the best they can, but almost none of them follow the command in Deut. 17:18-20,
(18) Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. (19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, (20) that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen . . .
One of the prime purposes of the law is to keep men humble. A true understanding of the law prevents men from seeing themselves as better than others. For this reason Jesus said that Kingdom rulership is about being a servant, rather than a lord and master (Matt. 20:25-28).
It is only when a ruler has this attitude of humility that his rule causes the citizens to "be glad and sing for joy."
The pinnacle of perfection is the divine standard of the character of Jesus Christ. When the Sons of God are fully trained and are blessed with the full Image of God, they will reign with Christ as part of His body. The earth will rejoice and be glad when they see how they have been blessed, and they will desire to know how to achieve this for themselves through Christ.
(6) The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. (7) God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.
This is how the psalm ends. It re-emphasizes the purpose of God's blessing--that is, the purpose of the saints being blessed with the divine presence and changed into His Image. Its purpose is so that "all the ends of the earth may fear Him."
This is not a worldly type of fear that is destructive. It is a reverential fear. Our English word "fear" does not really do justice to the Hebrew word. Our word is too restricted to the negative, whereas the Hebrew word includes also the more positive side of reverence and respect. This positive usage is obviously the meaning of the verse above.
So once again, God is building a tabernacle/temple made of living stones. Upon its completion, it will be glorified as a complete body by the divine presence. When glorified, it will become a house of prayer for all people. Men will come to each individual "temple" to learn the ways of God and ask how they too might find the path to glory for themselves.
This is the fourteenth part of a series titled "The Exodus Book of Psalms." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones