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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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”