Today’s readings.. Numbers 6, Proverbs 3, Luke 17
We are reading in Numbers how the establishment of Israel as an organised nation is now complete. It had been just over a year since they escaped from Egypt; the 10 commandments and other laws had been given, the tabernacle made and erected and is now ready for use. The priesthood has been appointed, led by Aaron.
Our chapter today (6) concludes in a very significant way. “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
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.”
This was a very special blessing: they were about to celebrate the Passover of their deliverance a second time and then head for the promised land – the land promised to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Read the words of this blessing again, encouraging words to stimulate positive thought that the LORD is with you. It is a most interesting phrase to: “make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you”. David makes reference to this no less than 7 times in his Psalms. Moses, we know, “knew God face to face” [Deut.34 v.10,] a relationship specially created by their 40 days together on the mountain top.
Our heavenly Father seeks a personal relationship with us through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” [John 14 v.9] Jesus represented the Father who himself “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no-one has ever seen or can see.” [1 Tim. 6 v.16]. We normally sing these words in seeking the LORD’s blessing at a baptism. They have intense meaning to illustrate the wonder of the relationship God invites us to have with him.
We must remember them throughout our lives, being conscious of the way so many of the people of Israel failed to be conscious of them when they faced challenges in the wilderness – how well are we coping with our wilderness?