Study 12 THE BENEDICTION IN NUMBERS 6:24-26
TWELVE OF MY FAVOURITE BIBLICAL THEMES
by Francis Dixon
Study verses: Numbers 6:24-26
What better theme for the concluding study of this series than these verses! Notice that it was the Lord who spoke to Moses and told him to tell Aaron and his sons that they should bless the Children of Israel with this wonderful blessing, or benediction. It is important to notice that this is a benediction for God’s own people, and only for them. It is not meant for all and sundry; it does not have any ministry for unbelievers, though unbelievers may become believers and enter into the joys and blessings which are described and offered here. There are three things to notice about this benediction:
- 1. It was dispensed through a PRIEST. In this case the priest was Aaron (and his sons), whose hands had been stained by the blood of sacrifice (verses 22-23). All the blessings which ever come to us come on the grounds of the shed blood of Christ, typified in all the Old Testament sacrifices (Hebrews 10:10-12).
- 2. It was initially a blessing for ISRAEL, and it was the peculiar blessing of God for His own chosen people on whom He had put His name (verse 27).
- 3. Today this benediction is for ALL God’s people - not only for His people Israel, but for the Church, for all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and for – look up 2 Corinthians 1:20. It is the exclusive blessing of all believers.
Notice that the word “you” is repeated six times. What are the blessings that are ours as Christians?
1. We are Enriched with divine blessing
See how the benediction begins in verse 24 - “The Lord bless you …” This is very intimate: “The Lord …you …”, and He has so very wonderfully blessed us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). It would be impossible to count all the spiritual blessings which He has given: pardon (Luke 7:48); peace (John 14:27); love (John 15:9); eternal life (1 John 5:12); joy (John 15:11); and heaven at the end of the journey (Revelation 21:4). But He has not only blessed us with spiritual blessings; He has showered us with temporal blessings too, and we must not forget these. They include the measure of health we have been given, and most of us have work to occupy us, a home to enjoy, loved ones, friends and so on. It is important to remember that the Lord’s blessing does not only consist of prosperity; it consists also of adversity and, as it has been rightly said, ‘Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, and adversity is the blessing of the New Testament’. When adversity comes it is in order to bring us nearer to the Lord, to perfect His will in us and to conform us, ultimately, to be in His Son’s likeness (Proverbs 10:22; Romans 8:30).
2. We are Guarded with omnipotent power
In verse 24 it goes on to say, ”The Lord bless you and keep you…” Again notice the intimacy of this: “The Lord …you…” and what a wonderful Keeper He is! We are guarded every moment of every day by omnipotent power, so we need not be fearful, anxious or apprehensive. He is the Lord our Keeper (John 17:12); He is able and ready to keep us from sin (1 Peter 1:3-5); to keep us from falling (Jude 24); and to keep us safely until the end of the journey (Psalm 73:24). For a real tonic read Psalm 121, which speaks about the safety of those who put their trust in God’s protection.
3. We are Illumined with celestial radiance
In verse 25 we read, ”The Lord make his face shine upon you …”, and in verse 26, ”The Lord turn his face towards you”. Notice the intimacy again: ”The Lord… you …” This part of the benediction means two things: firstly, that we have the smile of God resting upon us. God is not frowning or looking angrily at us. He is showing His favour. He always hates our sin, but how greatly He loves us (Jeremiah 31:3). Secondly, it means that His beauty is reflected upon us. We have no beauty of our own, but through our union with Him we reflect His grace and His loveliness, like Moses (Exodus 34:29); like Stephen (Acts 6:15); and like the Saviour Himself (Matthew 17:2). This can and should be true of all who love and belong to the Lord (Psalm 90:17); compare 2 Corinthians 3:18. Is your life pleasing to Him, reflecting His beauty?
4. We are Encompassed with Loving-kindness
In verse 25 it goes on to read: ”and be gracious to you”. God’s grace is His unmerited favour towards those who do not deserve anything at all from Him. We do not deserve anything but God gives us everything, and when we consider His loving and kindly dealings with us, how is it that we are not more gracious? Sometimes we are filled with unkind thoughts, we speak unkind words, and we give unkind looks and we engage in unkind actions. How contrary this is to our Lord’s will for us! - look up Ephesians 4:31-32.
5. We are Filled with heavenly peace
In verse 26 the benediction ends with the words, ”The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace”. This is the crowning blessing. The Lord’s gracious plan and provision for us all is that we should know His peace flooding our hearts and minds - look up and compare Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7.
It only remains for us to take this five-fold blessing, or benediction, from the Lord Himself; but let’s do it not only once but every day, and let’s rejoice that we have such a wonderful God, such a glorious Saviour and such a gracious Holy Spirit who indwells us!