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Devotional: October 22, 2021

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,

Psalm 67: 1 NRSV

This verse reads like a prayer. Perhaps it is a prayer by King David, uttered on behalf of His people. In addition to asking God to be gracious and merciful, showering His blessing upon the people of Israel, the verse also asks for God “to make his face… shine upon us.”

This curious expression is used elsewhere in the scriptures. In the Book of Numbers, we find this blessing from the priests,

“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace”(Numbers 6:24-26).

These words have been used as a blessing in many Christians churches for centuries.

We can turn our face towards someone, or away from someone. To refuse to look at someone is a way of not acknowledging their presence. Looking away from someone implies disapproval. It could even be seen as an action to shame someone. Here, David is praying that God will offer us His care, His blessing, and His attention.

What could cause God to turn His face away from us? Our sin. Indeed, there are a number of instances in the scriptures when people prayed for God to not turn His face away from them. (Job 13:24, Psalm 27:9, 44:24, 69:17, 88:14, 102:2, 143:7).

The good news is that our Lord does desire to bless us, and to be gracious to us. The most powerful theme in all of the scriptures is that in spite of our sin, God turned His face towards us. In sending His son to save us from our sins, God left no doubt about His love and care for us.

God is gracious. God does bless us. And praise the Lord, he turns towards us, rather than away from us. God does this in spite of our sin. Why? Because His love is able to separate us from our sin, through the power of forgiveness, which shines like the sun….

Prayer

Most Holy God,

Thank you for turning Your face towards me, in spite of my imperfections. Like King David, I ask you to bless me. Lord, you know how much I need Your mercy, Your grace, and Your forgiveness. Therefore, grant me Your favor. Look upon me once again, and bless me with Your forgiveness, and Your loving presence. I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


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