I was reading through the Book of Numbers recently, and I read afresh the blessing that God told Moses to teach his brother Aaron and his sons, the priests of Israel, on how to bless the people. In Chapter 6:22-27 we read, “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
When we meditate on this blessing, we see that God’s intention is not only that we be blessed by His divine grace, but also that we should be a blessing to others. Scripture tells us that God gives to those who ask. It isn’t wrong when we ask God to bless us, but God can use us more and can teach us more about Himself and how He loves us when we ask Him to bless others.
Many of us will know people that God has graciously blessed, but we must be careful that those very blessings don’t become dangerous distractions which may prevent us from studying the Word or from engaging in service to Him as we once did. Therefore, we ask God to “keep” or guard us so we aren’t distracted from the things that are of eternal significance.
God wants to shine His face on us. When God makes His face shine on us, it exposes who we are in our sinful nature, and so reveals our need for a Savior through His grace, which is an expression of His great love for us. As He poured out His grace on us through Jesus Christ, He wants us to share that same grace with those around us
God wants to smile on us the way a parent smiles on their children because it brings them pleasure. He wants to enjoy a relationship with us that is based on a joy of knowing each other intimately. A parent who enjoys their children is gracious to them. God wants to enjoy our company and give us peace. And because of the Holy Spirit who indwells our spirit, who communes with us in the deepest part of our being, God gives us His peace.
During a time of exile and hardship, when the Israelites wandered not only the desert east of the Jordan River, but also in the desert of their spiritual lives, the blessing Moses taught Aaron and the priests captures the very essence of what it means for Israel to be the people of God. It’s a lesson and a blessing that resonates with us as we traverse our own pandemic desert. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the blessings You have given your people through the ages so we need not live in fear of the current circumstances. We thank You for Your grace and love extended to us in times of joy as well as times of adversity. Help us to recognize and bless those in need so that Your great name might be exalted. You alone are the source of our strength, and the wellspring of our salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.