“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
This famous Aaronic benediction found in the Old Testament Book of Numbers is one of the great blessings in the Bible, repeated by many pastors weekly in blessing their congregation at the end of their worship services. It is a blessing on all of the people of Israel placed here in Numbers 6:22-27 as a conclusion to the covenant God had given from the thundering top of Mount Sinai and from the glorious tabernacle.
God’s blessing on the people of Israel was not gained by outstanding acts of devotion on their part. Rather, God freely blessed His people as a mark of His outstanding grace and mercy. He would bless and keep, that is, take care of the nation of Israel. He also would make His face shine on the Israelites and be gracious to them (cf. Exodus 34:6).
The face of God’s holiness that was to shine upon Israel could equal life or death, but God desired His blessings to fall upon those who were faithful so that they could experience peace (Numbers 6:26) and wholeness in their relationship with their redeeming God.
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