Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Numbers 6:22-27 is a passage of blessing we frequently use, especially at the end of a church service. Specifically, the threefold blessing in verses 24-26 comes out of our mouths regularly, usually accompanied by making the sign of a cross over a congregation.
We don't often think about the impact of such passages, but it pays to do so at least once in a while.
First, the passage is Trinitarian in nature. There are three specific movements in it, all having to do with the acts of the Lord. Any time we see a group of three in the Bible, we want to consider whether it is a sign of the Trinity. Here there is little doubt. The Lord's title is repeated very deliberately.
Second, we want to realize that Hebrew poetry is normally based on some sort of parallelism. Here, each of the lines has two elements. It's a triangle of parallels. Often when we see parallelism, it's in couplets - groups of two. Here, however, we have a group of three.
Notice the first element of each is very similar. Blessing, making his face shine, and lifting up his countenance, all are the same action. When God looks upon his people, he brings good. He is the God of blessing. He looks at us to see what would be good to do for us. This should give us great comfort.
The second element of each of the three lines shows a strong similarity as well. God keeps us, is gracious to us, and gives us peace. These are the ways he blesses us, and they are very similar to each other. How does he keep us? He keeps us in his grace. He keeps us in peace.
Apart from the Lord's blessing, we have no light of God shining on us. We have no confidence that we will be guarded in all our life by his presence. But with the Lord's name being placed upon us in blsssing, we can trust that he will be with us, watching over us, giving us all his blessings, all our life.
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