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Psalm 67 1
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—2 so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. 3 May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. 4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. 5 May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. 6 The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. 7 May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

img216Background 2

We do not know who wrote this Psalm, or when. It uses two ideas from the Old Testament, one is from the Book of Numbers. The other is from the Book of Genesis. Here is Numbers 6:24-26. They are words that God spoke to Moses, for Moses to tell the people.

Who does God (and Moses) mean by “you” in these verses from Numbers is the question for today? In the beginning, it was the Israelites, the people that Moses led from Egypt to the Promised Land of Israel. But if we read Genesis 12:3 we find that God said to Abram (Abraham), “Because of you I will bless all the families on the earth”. This means everybody! So Christians believe that in Psalm 67 God is saying, “When people see the good things that I have done for my people, they will become my servants too!” Therefore, we should consider Psalm 67 a prayer for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom.

Biblical Truths 3

All our happiness comes from God’s mercy; therefore the first thing prayed for is, God be merciful to us, to us sinners, and pardon our sins. Pardon is conveyed by God’s blessing, and secured in His blessing. If we, by faith, walk with God, we may hope that his face will shine on us. The psalmist passes on to a prayer for the conversion of the Gentiles, which shows that the Old Testament saints desired that their advantages might also be enjoyed by others. And many Scripture prophecies and promises are wrapped up in prayers: the answer to the prayer of the church is as sure as the performance of God’s promises.

The joy wished to the nations, is a holy joy. Let them be glad that by His providence the Lord will overrule the affairs of earthly kingdoms; even the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of the Lord, and of his Christ. Then is declared a joyful prospect of all good when God does this. The success of the gospel brings outward mercies with it; righteousness exalts a nation. The blessing of the Lord sweetens all our creature-comforts to us, and makes them comforts indeed. All the world will be brought to worship Him. When the Gospel begins to spread, it will go forward more and more, until it reaches to the ends of the earth.

It is good to cast our lot with those that are the blessed of the Lord. If nothing had been spoken in Scripture respecting the conversion of the heathen, we might think it vain to attempt so as a hopeless work. But when we see with what confidence it is declared in the Scriptures, we may engage in missionary labors, assured that God will fulfill His own word. People cannot learn unless they are taught. We are to go forward in the strength of the Lord, and look to Him to accompany God’ Word and the Holy Ghost. It will be then that Satan’s kingdom will be destroyed, and the kingdom of our Redeemer established.

Items for Discussion

  • What exactly does the Psalmist tell us will reach to the ends of the earth? Why is this significant?
  • What are the ways that knowledge of our God spread around the world?
  • How does Satan try to stop this?
  • What should our role be in God’s plans?

 

John 5:1-9
1 Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had. 4 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

Background 5

The apostle and evangelist, John, seems to have been the youngest of the twelve. He was especially favored with our Lord’s regard and confidence, so as to be spoken of as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He was very sincerely attached to his Master. He exercised his ministry at Jerusalem with much success, and outlived the destruction of that city, agreeably to Christ’s prediction, John 21:22. History relates that after the death of Christ’s mother, John resided chiefly at Ephesus. Towards the close of Domitian’s reign he was banished to the isle of Patmos, where he wrote his Revelation. On the accession of Nerva, he was set free, and returned to Ephesus, where it is thought he wrote his Gospel and Epistles, about 97 A.D., and died soon after.

The design of this Gospel appears to be to convey to the Christian world, just a summary of the real nature, office, and character of that Divine Teacher, who came to instruct and to redeem mankind. For this purpose, John was directed to select for his narrative, those passages of our Savior’s life, which most clearly displayed His Divine power and authority; and those of His discourses, in which he spoke most plainly of His own nature, and of the power of His death, as an atonement for the sins of the world. By omitting, or only briefly mentioning, the events recorded by the other apostles, John gave testimony that their narratives are true, and left room for the doctrinal statements already mentioned, and for particulars omitted in the other Gospels, many of which are exceedingly important.

Bible Truth 6

We are all by nature impotent folk in spiritual things, blind, tired and withered in spirit; but God has made full provision for our cure, if we want it. An angel went down and stirred the water; and whatever disease it was, this water cured it. However, the cure was given only to the first person that stepped in. This teaches us to be careful, that we let not an opportunity to slip by since it may never return. The man had lost the use of his limbs thirty-eight years. Christ singled this man out from the rest of the people at the pool. Those long in affliction, may comfort themselves that God keeps account of our prayers for a very long time.

Observe, this man speaks of the unkindness of those about him, but does so without any anger. As we should be thankful, so we should be patient. Our Lord Jesus cures him, although the man neither asked or thought of it. Arise, and walk. God’s command, Turn and live. What a joyful surprise to the poor invalid, to find himself of a sudden so strong, so able to help himself. So must the proof of our spiritual cure be that we rise and walk in the Spirit. Christ has healed our spiritual diseases so let us go wherever He sends us, and take up whatever He lays upon us; and walk before Him.

Items for Discussion

  • What do you think about the fact that the pool at Bethesda and the Angel in the Pool had been coming long before Jesus entered the picture?
  • What lesson do you think God was teaching us by only curing the first person into the pool?
  • What lesson was Jesus teaching us by curing the man on the Sabbath?
  • Why do you think that Jesus asked the man a very obvious question, “Do you want to get well?”
  • Are there “Pools of Bethesda” in our world today?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of the Church today with regard to people like the man at the pool?
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