Daily D – Numbers 6:24-26
“ ‘ “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.” ’
“Now receive the blessing.” My friend then raised his hands and spoke these words over our gathering. As a lifelong Baptist, this took me by surprise. Knowing my friend is also a lifelong Baptist made this an unexpected experience.
I was well familiar with words like Invocation and Benediction. But speaking blessings like priests? I had zero experience of that kind of thing in a Baptist setting.
Having a couple of diplomas from a theological seminary of renown, I should have something of a philosophy about blessings of this sort. Until recently, I have not.
Consider what God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3:
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
And again in 22:17 and 18:
I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Ponder Psalm 67:1 and 2:
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.
Here are three important biblical texts declaring God’s blessing on “all peoples” and “all nations.” These are not the only ones to do so.
The Priesthood of All Believers is an important idea for Christians. We are priests for ourselves, our families, and one another. Listen to these words from the Apostle Peter:
that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
We, like Abraham, like Aaron, like David, and like Peter have been blessed to bless. We who have experienced God’s goodness are to help others experience God’s goodness. We are to bless them. We bless them with our words and we bless them with our service.
There is so much more to say about this idea. However, a good practical step for today is to memorize this blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. Meditate upon it day by day. Notice how each line begins with the covenant name of God, the LORD. Notice how each stanza builds upon the others to a crescendo with the word Peace.
Think of all the ways Jesus demonstrated this blessing in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Ask God to bless you so that you are a blessing to everyone you meet today. And someday soon, in a small group of people you love, go ahead and pronounce this blessing with your hands held high and your eyes wide open. Declare God’s blessing as you have been blessed.
I will bless others as I have been blessed.
Our Father, there is so much here I do not yet understand. What I do know is, like Abraham, I am abundantly blessed by your goodness, your mercy, and your grace. Make me a blessing to everyone I meet today. Amen.
Check out this YouTube video of churches in England singing The Blessing over their nation. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U]
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Ezra 8:31, 32 On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.
Esther 6:1, 2 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”