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Pray for Peace

In the midst of the Law, here is this picture of the shining, smiling face of God.  Smiling toward His people. 
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Sandwiched between the technical details of completing a Nazirite vow, and the details of the offerings for the consecration of the tabernacle, the Lord charges Aaron and his sons to pronounce a beautiful benediction on the people of Israel:

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  (Numbers 6:24-26)

The beauty is perhaps surprising, considering what surrounds it, but surprising or not the beauty has been long recognized.  This blessing appears on greeting cards, posters, memes and many other places.  It’s been set to music multiple times.  For me at least, the beauty never gets old.

When commanding this blessing, the Lord’s comment to Moses is, “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (verse 27) The blessing comes from God, and the command to pronounce the blessing comes from God.  So the blessing is His intention from the start—pronouncing it doesn’t cause the blessing to happen.  Pronouncing it is for God’s people to know the blessing is from Him.

In the midst of the Law, here is this picture of the shining, smiling face of God.  Smiling toward His people.  Here in the very Law itself, is a statement that His blessing, His favor, isn’t earned by the works of the Law, it comes by God’s grace.

Aaron, the high priest, is of course a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the true High Priest.  It is lovely to think of Jesus pronouncing this blessing on us.  What a beautiful thing.

It’s a beautiful thing we are called upon to do.

But God’s direction to Moses is, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel…” (verse 23)  Not Aaron only; Aaron and his sons.  If Jesus is foreshadowed by Aaron, who do the sons represent?

I think we get an answer in passages like these:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (1 Peter 2:9)
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”  (Revelation 5:9-10)

The High Priest is Jesus alone.  But we who belong to Christ have been made, by him, into a “royal priesthood”.  We, it seems to me, are the fulfillment of the “sons of Aaron”.  And therefore it is our duty, working alongside our High Priest, to also pronounce blessing.  To “proclaim the excellencies of him who called us.”

It almost seems arrogant to suggest this, but I think it’s what these passages are getting at.  Definitely conveys to us that we have a very serious responsibility.  Can we be those who puts God’s name on people?  It is surely God Himself who does that!  But Aaron and his sons were to pronounce the blessing, say it out loud…and mean it.

It’s a beautiful thing we are called upon to do.  To speak to those God has chosen as His people, and say, “The Lord bless you!  Shine on you, smile on you.  Be gracious to you, and give you peace.”

Love, praying that the Lord bless you, Paul

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The New Testament frequently and emphatically reminds us that the Law of Moses was a foreshadowing of the work of Messiah. 
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