Psalm 66 (NRSV)
Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel
1Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
2sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.
3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
4All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name.”
5Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
6He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
7who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let the rebellious not exalt themselves.
8Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
9who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
10For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
Malachi 3:3 (New Living Translation)
He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.
A woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. As she watched the siversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then she thought about the verse, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…”. She asked the silversmith if it were true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”
He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s the easy part — when I see my image reflected in it.”
11You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs;
12you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
13I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows,
14those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
16Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.
“What the Lord has done in me” by Hillsong.
17I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.
18If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
19But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
20Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.
Psalm 67 (NRSV)
The Nations Called to Praise God
1May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
2that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
Of all of the ways of God, this is the most precious and needful. We should see a perishing world and long for God’s salvation among all nations. This is the reason for blessing. Are you a member of the “bless me” club? Always crying out to God, “Bless me, bless me, bless me!” But your cry is essentially a selfish one, the kind of cry a self-interested child makes. Yes, we unashamedly ask God to bless us – but not only for ourselves, but so His way will be made known on all the earth, and His salvation among all nations!
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV, ©2011)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
3Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
5Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
6The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
7May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.