“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.” vss. 1-2
The psalmist makes reference to the Aaronic benediction in his hymn of praise. That brief blessing has been a favorite of God’s people from the beginning, and it continues to bring joy as we hear it in worship now. It comes at the end of the service, and summarizes the full magnificence of God’s grace and love. The overwhelming desire of our scripture is that God’s blessings would multiply in our lives and that we would regularly experience God’s smiling face–and that’s the prayer of this benediction. But the psalmist goes on to say that this precious gift isn’t just for us. Rather, our lives are filled to the brim with joy so that others may know the love and the power of God. In other words, they can begin to know God by observing what God has done in our lives. Jesus put it this way, “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works, and give glory to God.” That’s why the faithful are so careful to deflect praise away from themselves in favor of the One they serve. J. S. Bach was careful to write “To God be the Glory” at the end of his cantatas. A humble man, he wanted his listeners to know where the praise should be directed.
Thought for the Day: How do I deflect praise?