So, I’m reading through Numbers today and I came across a blessing I’ve heard so many times. Who knew it came from a book of the Bible dedicated to counting people?
Moses, Aaron, and the Levites have just about finished setting up the tabernacle for the first time in the wilderness and they will soon give offerings for each of the tribes of Israel.
God instructs Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6: 23-27
I love that blessing. And it was originally given to Israel at the start of their 40 years in the desert (though they didn’t know at the time they’d be there that long!).
There’s so much in this blessing – and it’s true for us, God’s New Covenant people. He will (with help from the ESV Study Bible):
- Bless us
- Keep or guard us
- Shine his smiling face on us
- Be gracious to us
- Lift up his countenance on us – take notice of us and treat us with favor
- Give us peace – total well-being
God will do this because he has put His name on us. We are Christ-followers and these blessings accompany the gift of His Son.
Sometimes I forget how much God wants to bless me. We live in a sin-filled world and life can be hard. I usually learn my spiritual lessons best in difficult times. So, I am often looking out more for trouble that doesn’t seem like a blessing (though it usually is).
But here it is – God wants to bless His people. And, frankly, if I step back and look at my life, it is full of blessing, of God’s gracious face shining on me.
In fact, if all I got was God’s face, that would be enough.
Dear Lord: Help me to remember and thank you for all the ways you bless me, to all the ways you are gracious towards me, and bring me peace. And help me be especially grateful that you bless me with your very presence. Amen