Aaron’s Blessing

Whitney Capps

Day: 6 | Plan: Numbers

Today's Reading: Numbers 6

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV) “‘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.’”

In 1979 archaeologists digging at an ancient burial site near Mount Zion in the old city of Jerusalem discovered a tiny rolled scroll encased in silver. This small necklace-type accessory, called a phylactery, was worn in life and death by faithful Israelites. When archaeologists were able to inspect the scroll, they found the words of today’s key passage written on it! This artifact of our faith is one of the oldest written portions of Scripture.

How precious this blessing must have been to God’s people. Often referred to as the Aaronic blessing because it was given to Aaron, this blessing was not so much for Aaron as it was to be used by Aaron. This blessing was to be proclaimed over all God’s people. Though spoken by Aaron, the people understood that these were the very words of God communicating to them His personal and profound favor.

Each of the three lines in this verse begins with the name Yahweh, the Hebrew name for Lord, reflecting the parallel structure common in Hebrew poetry. But beginning each line with God’s name isn’t just poetic, it reflects Him as the author of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17) 

“The LORD bless you and keep you;”

The first stanza promises Yahweh’s blessing and keeping of His people. This would have reminded Israel of the enduring promise of God to Abram in Genesis 12:2, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” Keeping them was the extension of making them a great nation. This young nation of Israel was still vulnerable. He would sustain and provide for them. This blessing is the promise of God’s protection.

the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;”

The second stanza promises Yahweh will make His face shine on them and bring them grace. The light of God, which emanates from His face, was His very presence with the people throughout the wilderness wanderings. He led them by a pillar of fire at night and hovered over them to keep them safe. Finally God’s light gives us His grace. Clearly we are undeserving of His light and presence. This is the definition grace-getting something from God that we simply don’t deserve. Yes, to enjoy God’s presence is a tremendous act of grace for Israel and for you and me.

“the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

The third and final stanza invites Yahweh’s look of love. In ancient cultures, to turn one’s gaze to or away from an individual communicated approval or displeasure, respectively. To look upon meant to grant favor. What is God’s greatest favor for His people? What does the promise of His protection and presence bring? His peace. This is the culminating crescendo of Aaron’s blessing. God’s people will always be at peace when He is with us and for us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a sweet, personal blessing You spoke over Your people. What a tender reflection of Your intimate relationship with Your children. I want to rest in Your protection. Help me to enjoy and pursue Your presence. I am encouraged by this promise that Your peace will follow me when I am in fellowship with You. What a privilege to be Your child. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Each line of Aaron's blessing begins with the name Yahweh. In Hebrew YHWH, the symbol meaning... Read More

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