SOAP Journal – 08 March 2017 (Numbers 6:22-27)

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

Numbers 6:22-27

I love this blessing. In the beginning of Numbers, God is giving all sorts of specific instruction that was not covered anywhere else — who does what with which parts of the tabernacle, the rules around a Nazirite vow, and so on — and He comes to this.

The LORD bless you and keep you. The blessing part is straightforward, but the word that is rendered keep carries such a wealth of possible meaning that it might as well be a paragraph. The possible meanings include to keep, have charge of, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, to watch for, wait for, to watch, observe, retain, treasure up (in memory), to keep (within bounds), restrain, to observe, celebrate, preserve, protect, or reserve. There are many ways to keep someone and the word used carries most of the meanings as potential ways to understand it.

The LORD make His face shine on you, / And be gracious to you. These, again, are straightforward in their meaning, but the imagery is awesome. The blessing requested here is that God’s face would shine on me; that the LORD would beam at me and give me grace.

The LORD lift up His countenance on you, / And give you peace. Again, straightforward words, but awesome imagery. The idea is that God’s face would be lifted up toward me; that I  would not cause God sorrow or disappointment. The blessing invoked is peace. The word shalom carries a fair bit of meaning, but peace and contentment rank high in the list. And everyone could use some peace and contentment.

Today and every day, may I be kept by God and shown grace by Him and given His peace. May I experience His blessing and walk in the light of His presence. Please, Father, let these things be so.

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