I was reading a passage in Numbers, where the LORD is speaking to Moses instructing him how to bless the sons of Israel. Now, this is not just any blessing. This is the LORD Himself telling Moses how He should invoke the Name in blessing others.
This also has special meaning for me, as it was Chuck Smith’s (founder of Calvary Chapel) favorite way to bless his congregation.
The LORD – the eternal Name of G-d – YHVH – is mentioned 3 times. I don’t believe this is an accident. G-d is the One G-d, but He is also a “complex unity” – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We see this complex unity mentioned throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. A few examples …
In the first chapter of Genesis, G-d the Father “created the heavens and the earth (the entire cosmos). The we read the the “Spirit of G-d” hovered over the waters, about to bring life to a formless void. next, we hear the Word of G-d, Yeshua Jesus (see John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word”) speaking the first of His creative acts: “Let there be light”
Jesus (Yeshua) command His disciples to share the good news of the Kingdom to the ends of the each, “baptizing believers in the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit”
When G-d created humankind, He refers to Himself as both plural, and singular: Gen 1:26: “Then God said, “Let Us [plural] make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...”. Gen 1:27: “So God [singular] created man in His [singular] own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
It is the LORD that will bless and keep you – not you yourself. For ultimately our fate rests with G-d our Maker, and although He expects us to use our minds and make good choices, it is He that “keeps us” – as Psalm 23 says, we are the sheep, and “the LORD is my Shepherd”.
In the second part of the blessing, the LORD is going to “make His face” shine upon you. This is a reference to Jesus (Yeshua), as He is the “image” of the eternal G-d. In the Scripture one of the disciples asked Jesus to “show us the Father”. What did Jesus reply? “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”. Finally, in reference to the second part of this blessing, it by His grace that we have been saved, and given eternal life.
In the final and third part of the blessing, G-d asks that the LORD lift His “countenance” on you, and give you “peace”. This refers to the work of G-d’s Spirit – for He is the active Person of G-d that supports our countenance, and gives us His peace. Gal 5:22 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
In these troubled and challenging times, I am going to follow the LORD’s instructions to give YOU a blessing so that you may kept, enjoy His presence, and rest in His peace::
May “The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’