Passage: Numbers 6:22–6:27
A worship service is a dialogue between God and his people--God speaks to us, and we respond to God. Note that the greeting at the beginning of a worship service and the benediction at the end of a worship service are an integral part of this; they are pronouncements of God's blessing to us. Ordained pastors have the honour, and the responsibility, of delivering these blessings on God's behalf. This passage is the benediction that the Lord commanded Aaron (ancient Israel's first high priest) to use when blessing the people; this blessing is still in common use today, thousands of years later.
There are three parts to this blessing:
- The Lord bless you and keep you: The word translated as "bless" has the connotation of giving a gift to someone while kneeling out of respect; the word "keep" refers to a shepherd building a hedge out of thornbushes, to protect the sheep from predators. In other words, God comes down to our level, gives us what we need, and protects us.
- The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you: God gives us his full attention, with nothing distracting him. He gives us what we truly need (i.e. salvation) without our deserving it.
- The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace: The word translated as "peace" means not just the absence of war or violence; it refers to justice, righteousness, wholeness, and contentment. God will make all things new, including our relationship with him.
To see this sermon in the context of the larger entire worship service, please open this bulletin.
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December 30, 2018Our God of Hope