Today’s Reading: Numbers 6:1-7:89 (additional reading Psalm 49:1-20 and Proverbs 10:27-28)
Key Verses: “The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His face upon you and give you peace. So they will put my name on the Israelites and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:24-27)
Have you ever noticed how the apostle Paul opens every one of his letters by wishing his readers “grace and peace”? It is also present in both of Peter’s letters, one of John’s and the book of Revelation. When they said, “grace and peace” these Biblical writers were not merely using a polite form of words to start a letter. In fact, they are very special words. To wish someone “grace” and “peace” is to desire for them something wonderful – it is to pray that they will be as close as possible to the heart of God. When they said, “grace and peace”, Peter, John and Paul were also carrying on a tradition that dated back almost 1500 years. An important part of the priest ministry was to “bless” the people.
The Lord bless you literally means “on bended knee.” It describes a servant kneeling out of respect for his master or a lover kneeling to ask his beloved for her hand in marriage. In this blessing, God is offering to come to His people “on bended knee” – that is, to come to serve them, to love them, to share Himself with them.
The second part of the first phase of the Aaronic blessing calls upon God to “keep” His people. The Hebrew word for “keep” is used to describe the way shepherds would use thorn bushes to build a protective enclosure for the sheep, to keep them safe from predators. “To keep” literally means “to build a hedge around”. Thus, the key idea is that of protection from harm is put around you and your life a sort of fence to keep out enemies that would snatch away the blessings that God has given you and to keep you from wandering off.
Most people do not think of God like this, but we see time and time again God has shown Himself to be a God who has a heart to bless and keep His people! Take the time today to thank Him for all his blessings!
- What prickly hedge is in your life to protect you?
- What does it mean to be blessed by God?
- What blessings do you need to give thanks for today?
Father, Thank You so much for all the blessings that You pour into our lives. Thank You for coming and inviting us into a relationship with You. Thank You for putting a hedge around our lives, not to limit us but to protect us and keep us in the place that You call us. Help us to be truly thankful for all Your blessings. In Jesus’ name, Amen