Numbers 6:22-27 – The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: 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 they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.
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5: bearing or expression that offers approval or sanction :moral support
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites
I’m sure many of you have heard this verse as a benediction at the end of a sermon or a service. And you may think that’s nice that the pastor wants those things for us. Truthfully it is not the pastor, but God who wants all of these things for us. He wants to bless us. The section saying, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying” may be the most important part of the verse to me. Why? Because it’s not just something Moses or Aaron came up with on their own. It’s not just traditional mumbo-jumbo. This blessing is from God. He told Moses what to have Aaron (and his sons) to say. This blessing is from God, and as adopted children of God, we too get to be part of this blessing.
The Lord bless you and keep you
God wants you to be blessed, and He does not want you to be separated from Him. You are important to Him. You are so important He sent His Son to die for your sins, to rise again, conquering death so that you may live. He is keeping you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you
Picture it. Picture the Lord making His face to shine upon you. Are you blocking the rays or soaking them up. Are you letting the Lord’s blessings sink into your skin, into your very being, or are you putting up your arms to keep them off of you. Do you hide under a tree to keep it away from you, afraid of what it might expose. God wants to shine on you. Giving you the grace that only comes from Him.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace
This is the key part of the reading we’re looking at for today. God is blessing us, telling us that He will lift up His countenance upon you. What do you think that means? From the definition of countenance above, which refers to countenance as “a : calm expression, b : mental composure, c : look, expression,” I think it means that God wants us to see that He’s not freaking out. He’s not over-reacting. When the waves in the boat started to make things too choppy for the disciples, they ran to Jesus, woke Him up and wanted Him to calm the seas, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Jesus calmly got up and calmed the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). How would you have reacted? When your child runs into your room telling you they just got sick all over their room, do you react calmly or freak out? When we run to God and tell Him how much life is hard for us, He doesn’t freak out, because He’s got it all under control. He’s got a calm expression or countenance. He’s not going to contribute to your crazy, in fact, He (and only He) can give you peace when stuff is hitting the fan.
So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.
As adopted children into the family of God that started with the Israelites, we have God’s name put upon us. As Christians, we have God’s countenance upon us, and can live with peace. That allows us to reflect that same countenance to others. Not from ourselves, but because of what the Lord has done for us.
The other day, I got a text from my sister. It was a terrible picture of my nephews knee. He had a chainsaw injury. I didn’t speak directly with my sister, but even through her texts, she conveyed that it wasn’t as serious as it looked or sounded. So after my initial shock, I was calm (but still a bit shook up). I knew that if my sister wasn’t freaking out, neither should I. Later in the evening I thought about the fact that my parents didn’t know about it (because they don’t text and my sister was still in the emergency room with her son) and would want to pray about it. So I called to tell them their grandson had a chainsaw injury. Big mistake. I called and asked if they had talked to my sister, but because I was not on the scene and must not have delivered the news in the same calm manner, my parents kind of flipped out. I tried to explain to them that he was fine, and even about my sister’s demeanor in her texts, but they would not be satisfied until they talked to my sister. When they did, they too believed that their grandson would be ok. Often we’re the same way, unless we’re looking at Jesus, keeping our focus on Him, we freak out at things that happen to us or are told to us by others. We react in fear. But when we look to our Father in Heaven, when we read His scripture, pray and confer with other Christians, we are assured of God’s calm resolve. That He’s got it under control, and He’s not freaking out, so there’s no reason for us to freak out. We can rest assured that the Lord will bless us with His peace.
Are you freaking out?