August 14, 2018
READ: Numbers 6:22-27
May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace (vv.24-26).
In our nightly prayers with our children, my husband and I like to end with the words Moses used when he instructed Aaron and his sons to bless God’s people (Numbers 6:24-26). This benediction reminds each family member that God loves it when we ask for His protection, favour, grace and peace.
The blessing has a rich history. Bible scholars believe it was given to Aaron and his descendants because they were the priests who led the Israelites in worship. God wanted the benediction to be used in worship so that His words of blessing would be woven into the lives of His people. In addition, its threefold format has suggested to some believers that it anticipates the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Indeed, many call it the “three-in-one” blessing.
In the first verse of the benediction that the Lord would “bless and protect” the people (v.24), we can see how stating these words could remind them that they were God’s chosen and loved ones. The second verse, that the Lord would “smile on [them] and be gracious to [them]” (v.25), could bring to mind Moses’ experience on the mountaintop. With his face shining, he carried down the book of the law (Exodus 24:13-18, 34:29-30). And the third verse, that the Lord would “show you his favour and give you his peace” (Numbers 6:26), is the climax of the blessing, with the word for peace—shalom—entailing not only an absence of conflict, but encompassing a sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
The Israelite priests said this blessing at the end of a service, a practice that continues today. As we bind these words to our hearts, may we accept them as a gift from our loving Father and live in the light of their truth each day.
—Amy Boucher Pye
365-day plan: Luke 15:1-10
When Jesus appeared to the disciples after He rose again, His opening words were, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). Why do you think these were His first words?
What words of blessing do you—or could you—incorporate into your daily routine? How might this practice help you in your walk with God?