This is a beautiful passage! It is the blessing that was to be given to the people from the Lord. God gave these words as certainly as He gave the ones concerning adultery.
When we looked at the passage regarding the test for adultery we looked at the fact that God gave the priest and the woman the words to say. And because HE gave them they were trustworthy and would result in a just judgement. No magic or luck necessary for the right outcome.
With the words God is giving Moses today it is the same concept. When the priests pronounce these blessings upon the people or the individual they can’t help but be brought to fruition. They are God’s promise. But that promise came with conditions, just like the adultery test.
Those whom the blessing was pronounced over had to be living by His word. They couldn’t be in rebellion and expect God to bless them. They couldn’t be in flagrant sin either. No. They weren’t perfect and didn’t have to be but they had to be walking in His ways to the best of their ability.
This is a portion of the blessing that is spoken over the children every Friday night in the Jewish communities. The father recites this blessing over his children, adding the lines of “May the Lord make you like Ephraim and Manasseh” for sons and “May the Lord make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah” for daughters at the beginning. The last time I looked at this blessing I stated that I wanted to start using it on my children and grandchildren. I’m sorry to say that I keep forgetting when they are here. I printed it out but I think maybe I need to frame it and post it on my wall as a reminder. Maybe right beside all their pictures.
So what does this blessing really mean? “The Lord bless you and keep you” (verse 24). This is asking God’s protection over and blessings upon the recipient. This includes all aspects of daily life. Business matters, traveling, personal safety, health, and financially. This is the essence of the hedge of protection God placed around Job.
“The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you” (verse 25). This is the very face of God watching over you and smiling down upon you. It is also His forgiveness when we stumble. It is the face of our Father watching over His children with love. And as with any father, this is in good times and bad; encouragement and correction. ALL are done in love.
“The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (verse 26). This speaks to me of the security of being in my Father’s arms. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. I don’t have to be afraid He is going to abandon me because I’ve disappointed Him. I have His loving face always before me and THAT gives me eternal peace; security.
And we close our reading with a most solemn promise; “So shall they put My name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them” (verse 27). This is as sure a promise as He made anywhere else in His word. This DOESN’T mean only rainbows and sunshine all the days of our lives. But it means that our Father has got us in the palm of His hand and NOTHING can snatch us out if it. This is an eternal promise. No matter what comes He is with His children through it all. Sunny days, cloudy days, winter storms, hurricanes and hail stones. When I’m on the mountain top, walking in the valley, or lying in the mud crying. Encouraging me, directing me, correcting me, or cuddling me. I’m NEVER alone.
Father God THANK YOU for Your promise. I know in this verse it says “Israel” but I’m included here too through faith. I’m a child of Abraham by faith. I CRAVE all these blessings in my life! I know I haven’t always noticed them as quickly as I should. What I do know though is that Your word is true. Let me speak that truth over my children. Help me remember. Give me boldness in doing so. Don’t let it drive my children away Lord. I think that might be part of why I keep “forgetting.” I need Your boldness and direction on how to approach this. Maybe I need to start saying it over my husband first.
Father, never let it become just a bunch of words I say. Make my heart ALWAYS tender to Your meaning and Your heart. Thank You that these blessings are for me too, even if no one else speaks the words over me. You gave them to me here.