“The Lord bless you and keep you,” God the Father promises his people in blessing, knowing we need special care like a father gives to his children.
Special care like the Father gave to Adam and Eve, blessing them with a beautifully designed home in the Garden of Eden and an even better home in heaven.
Special care like the Father gave to the Israelites when he rescued them from Egypt with ten miraculous plagues and a bonus miracle to cross the Red Sea on dry ground.
Special care like the Father gave to Daniel keeping him safe from hungry lions and greedy kings.
Special care like the Father gives to you in the form of sunshine and rain, ranchers and crops, health, a stable government, paychecks, doctors, and unseen angels delivering you from evil you don’t even realize could have happened.
“The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you,” God the Son promises his people in blessing, smiling at us with forgiveness and delight.
Consider a teacher smiling at her students as they walk out of the classroom at the end of another school year. They came to her at the beginning of the year empty of what they needed to know in that subject (though they probably thought they were full).
Sometimes they argued and complained, sometimes they answered incorrectly, and sometimes their best wasn’t good enough. They tested her patience quite often. They let her down again and again. But she knew it would work like it always does, and through it all – because of her expert knowledge and firm but gentle encouragement – they now walk into the world prepared.
And she smiles at them. She smiles for them. They have touched her heart, even the problem students, and when they leave they take a part of her with them.
She smiles with the joy of a job well done, like Jesus smiled at Moses and David and Abraham not because they were perfect, but because they were his projects of love.
Like Jesus smiles at you when he picks you up as his little lamb wandering off into mischief, gathering you into his arms and patting you on the head, “Hey there, little rascal, stay close to me and you’ll always be safe.” Like Jesus smiles at you when he pulls you to his side as his drowning disciple, looking you in the eye with the gentle rebuke, “O, you of little faith.”
“The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace,” God the Holy Spirit promises to his people in blessing, reassuring us that his attention to our every need provides the peacefulness of security and comfort we need.
Security like Hannah had knowing that her son, Samuel, would be blessed by God in his schooling and career taking place away from home.
Security like Joseph had even though he lived and worked among people who didn’t understand his religion or appreciate his God.
Security like Job had, convinced that everything he had was given by the Lord and was the Lord’s to take away in his perfect wisdom and love – and this would be for Job’s good.
Security and comfort like you have because you can be absolutely certain that, even in the worst of troubles, God is on your side.
These are the words and meaning of what the church calls the “benediction.” It’s a blessing from God that closes many of our worship services or family devotions at home, taken right from God’s own direction in the Bible book of Numbers, chapter 6.
God bless you this week!
PRAYER: O three-in-one God, your triune nature is a blessing to us! Be our God today and forever. Our only God. Our saving God, whom we don’t understand completely. But whom we trust with our lives, our destiny, and our significance in this world. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Meditate on and pray this expanded prayer: O three-in-one God, your triune nature is a mystery to the greatest minds of our world. For that, we give you thanks! After all, what kind of a god is one that can fit inside human categories and compartments? What kind of god is one that we can manipulate or manufacture? What kind of god is one that we can tell what to do for us and how to make it happen? Be our God today and forever. Our only God. Our saving God, whom we don’t understand completely. But whom we trust with our lives, our destiny, and our significance in this world. Amen.