“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.”Numbers 6: 24 – 26.
I love the beauty of this verse. This blessing – for you and for me.
Let these words wrap around you, snuggle into their comfort, this provision for your day. Let their meaning seep into your soul.
The Aaronic blessing
The Aaronic blessing was given to Aaron for the people of God. It is personal. Not just for the congregation. It is a profound moment. A face to face encounter.
A gift. An assurance.
It is rich with meaning and builds to a crescendo that ends with peace. I researched it and here is what I discovered.
The LORD, in this passage is the Hebrew word for Yahweh, and refers to the Self-existent, Almighty, Eternal God. His name reflects the very character of God.
The names of God
He is: (And it is not a full list!)
Yahweh Jireh – The Lord will Provide – Gen 22:14
Yahweh Nissi -The Lord is My Banner – Exod 17:15
Yahweh Shalom – The Lord is Peace – Judg 6:24
Yahweh Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts -1 Sam 1:3; 17:45
Yahweh Mekoddishkem – The Lord Your Sanctifier – Exod 31:13
Yahweh Raah – The Lord My Shepherd – Psa 23:1
Yahweh Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness – Jer 23:6
Yahweh Shammah – The Lord Is Present – Ezek 48:35
This is the LORD who blesses you – in His completeness, and in the many facets of His character.
To get a deeper look at this blessing, let’s do a little digging.
The LORD bless you
Numbers 6:24 –
The LORD bless you
and keep you –
‘Bless’ here is from the Hebrew word ‘barach’ from a related word which means “to adore” and further to “adore on bended knee.” As if God is kneeling as parents might, when they want their little ones’ full attention. Looking directly at us. Not wanting us to miss the message, or to miss the intense love in His eyes.
And to ‘keep’ from the Hebrew ‘shamar,’ which means to “guard or protect.” Again, we see the tenderness of a parent, the gathering into His Almighty arms.
Jesus, in His High priestly prayer in John 17: 11 pleas for us, “Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life.”
We see God’s faithfulness declared in 2 Thess. 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” This is His wish for us. Established in Him, kept from the evil one, strengthened by Him for our every day.
The LORD make his face to shine
The LORD make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you –
‘Shine’ is the Hebrew word ‘or’ – as a verb, as it is here, it means to “give light” or “shine” which connotes bringing an order as light illuminates and/or shows what has been dark. And what sweetness is this: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6).
As His face shines upon us, He reveals His glory. His light brings order out of chaos. So, He dispels the darkness, first by revealing it, and then by calling us out – out of the night – into His glorious day. And, He never leaves us alone in the darkness.
The Hebrew verb translated as gracious in the Aaronic blessing is the verb ‘hanan.’ And if often goes alongside other Hebrew words meaning: healing, help, finding refuge, strength and rescue. Oh, the graciousness of God – so compassionate and unrestrained.
The LORD lift up his countenance
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace –
Here again we notice the deliberate turning of the LORD towards us. His intent to bless certain and sure.
‘Give or grant’ is the Hebrew verb ‘siym,’ it literally means to “set down in a fixed and arranged place.” So He places us in peace. Peace comes from the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ Its meaning is more than a cessation of hostility. It is to restore. And the sense of wholeness and completion. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding, as Philippians 4:7 tells us.
A love song!
When my son was born almost 29 years ago, a version of this verse came out in song. It was lyrical, lovely, sweet. And I sang it to him every night, rocking and crooning these words in his ear. I did the same when our daughter was born.
More than a blessing – these verses; they are a love song.
So, today, I invite you to listen – to this blessing, to this love song – for you and for me. Ponder the meaning of the words, let them take residence in your heart. Let them bring comfort and encouragement. For you are profoundly loved and deeply cherished.