The Psalmist petitions God on behalf of the church (Ps. 67:1). He prays that the Lord will be merciful to His people, bless His people, and dwell with His people. The background to this petition is likely the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:24-26, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” The church always stands in need of God’s mercy; as C.H. Spurgeon said, “Mercy is a foundation attribute in our salvation. The best saints and the worst sinners may unite in this petition.” The church is also dependent upon the blessing of God for her life and witness in the world. And certainly, communion with God is the church’s highest joy and her desire is expressed well by David in another Psalm, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).
The Psalmist petitions God on behalf of the nations (Ps. 67:2-4) and his overarching theme is expressed in verse 2 – “That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” The Psalmist understood the promise of God concerning the salvation of sinners and how it was a promise that transcended national Israel. The promise would evoke praise from the peoples, “Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (v.4a). He prays that the peoples of the earth would experience the saving power of God and he knows that when they do, they will engage in the worship of the living and true God – “Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You” (Ps. 67:3). The people who know the salvation of God and who rejoice in God for His gracious provision, will also happily submit to the government of God – “For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth” (Ps. 67:4). God’s salvation and God’s rule wonderfully evokes God’s praise from His conquered people.
The Psalmist prays what he prays because he believes what he believes about God’s promises – they are true. After reiterating the praise given to God by “the peoples” (Ps. 67:5), the Psalmist reflects upon the blessing of God on the earth. The Psalm was likely written as a prayer to God on the occasion of a bountiful harvest and verse 6 is consistent with this, “Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.” That there will be an increase of saved sinners in the earth is obvious from the Psalm and the rest of the Bible. That the earth itself benefits from the rule of God is something we New Covenant believers ought to reckon with on occasion. Spurgeon said,
Sin first laid a curse on the soil, and grace alone can remove it. Under tyrannical governments lands become unproductive; even the land which flowed with milk and honey is almost a wilderness under Turkish rule; but, when the principles of true religion shall have elevated mankind, and the dominion of Jesus shall be universally acknowledged, the science of tillage shall be perfected, men shall be encouraged to labor, industry shall banish penury, and the soil shall be restored to more than its highest condition of fertility.
The church today must not forget what the Prince of Baptist preachers noted – Christianity “elevate[s] mankind.” The church sings this truth each Christmas season, “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found…” The curse imposed as a result of the transgression of the first Adam (Gen. 3:19) will be fully reversed at the second coming of the last Adam (Phil. 3:20-21), and until then, the church continues to see the blessed effects of God’s grace as His gospel goes forth and as His mercies are embraced in the world.
Finally, the Psalmist ends on a triumphant note, “God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him” (Ps. 67:7). The Psalter is replete with this blessed emphasis. The Great Commission assumes this emphasis as Christ instructs His church to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). The Psalmist begins by praying that God’s “way may be known on earth” (Ps. 67:2) and ends with the confident expectation that his prayer will be answered! Spurgeon is helpful here, “Despite the gloomy notions of some, we cling to the belief that the kingdom of Christ will embrace the whole habitable globe, and that all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for this glorious consummation we agonize in prayer.”
 C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David (1988; reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), 2.128.
 Spurgeon, Treasury of David, 2.129.
 Isaac Watts, “Joy to the World,” in Trinity Psalter Hymnal (Willow Grove, PA: Trinity Psalter Hymnal Joint Venture, 2018), 299.
 See, for instance, Psalms 2:8; 22:27-30; 45:4; 46:10; 72:8-11; 86:8-10.
 Spurgeon, Treasury of David, 2.129.