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Aaron's Benediction: The Blessing


Someone praying on a hill with the text of Aaron's Benediction

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“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 countenance upon you,

And give you peace.” ’

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

(Numbers 6:22-27 NKJV)


In Numbers, chapter six, God gives Moses a blessing to give to Aaron the High Priest to use to bless His people. It is a beautiful blessing, and I use it at the end of worship each Sunday to bless God's people as they are sent back out into the world to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.


May the Lord bless you and keep you.


When we think of God blessing us, we often think in terms of material things. We are blessed by God when we have food to eat and a home to live in and income to care for all our needs. Jesus told us not to focus so much on material blessings in the Sermon on the mount:


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:25-26 NIV)


There are other blessings God gives to His people that are more valuable than possessions. There is forgiveness that sets us free from guilt and regret. There are relationships that fill our lives with love. There is provision of enough to meet all our needs. There is answered prayer that means nothing is impossible with God. Best of all, there is the blessing of God's presence with us - we are never alone and never forsaken. May the Lord bless you...


God keeps us in the shelter of His arms. Nothing can destroy us because we are His and we will live forever. Life on this earth will end at some point in physical death, but even that will not destroy me because death is the doorway to eternal life.


In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4-6 NIV)


God is able to complete the good work He began in us in Christ Jesus. May the Lord bless you and keep you...


May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.


For God to make His face to shine upon us means He is facing us and giving us His attention. It is the opposite of turning His back on us. God sees you. He doesn't ignore you. He is not a million miles away from you, even if it sometimes feels like that's reality. We are so practiced at trusting our feelings, when truth is, they are not all that reliable. God's promises, on the other hand, are completely reliable. May the Lord make His face shine upon you...


The God of the Bible is a God of mercy and grace. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don't deserve. God gives both. We deserve death. We receive life. That's mercy. We don't deserve to be forgiven and set free from sin and death, but Jesus died in our place to give us the very things we don't deserve. That's grace.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)


We can't earn God's favor. We already have it. May the Lord be gracious to you...


May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.


A lifted or raised countenance is a face that is smiling. May God smile upon you and not frown at you in anger. May God's face light up with a smile of love and pleasure over you. That's the sentiment of lifting up His countenance, I think. Just like a parent's face lights up in a smile when they hold their newborn child, God's countenance lifts in a smile of love and pleasure over us. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you...


God's peace is more than the absence of conflict. The Hebrew word is shalom, and it means complete well-being. It is the blessing of life and provision and protection all rolled into one. In Jesus Christ we have peace with God. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NIV) In Jesus Christ we have peace in the midst of the storm. May the Lord give you peace.


God adds one powerful addendum in Numbers 6:27: “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”


In blessing God's people with this priestly blessing, the priest puts God's name on them. The blessing fixes God's name on His people. All through the blessing, the word "LORD" is all capitals. That is editorial shorthand, telling us that in the Hebrew, the word is not "Lord" it is the word "Yahweh". It is God's name. We belong to the living God, and to no other. Yahweh's people carry the Name of His Son. I follow Jesus. I belong to Jesus. I am His and He is mine. All blessing flows from having God's name fixed on my life. And that is enough, no matter what the circumstances of my life.


“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 countenance upon you,

And give you peace.”



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