Numbers 6:22-27

William S. Epps, Senior Pastor
Sunday, January 1, 2023
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:22-27
This is a benediction, one of the most familiar in the Old Testament. It has been put to music so as to be sung melodiously at the conclusion of a worship celebration.  It has been read, quoted, and sung. I presume that it is familiar in your hearing if you have been to a worship service. If not, you will learn about it today.  
Some describe a benediction as a prayer for God's blessing. A blessing is a request for a favor, or being consecrated or sanctified by a religious rite or a request for God to bestow divine favor upon one. (Bless this house, oh Lord we pray, may it safe by night and day). To bestow good of any kind (God bless America). Or when we say “bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is when in me bless his holy name” (Psalm 103). 
There are several blessings which appear in several of the New Testament letters, which represent some of the familiar benedictions inspired by the life and spirit of Jesus Christ.  
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen." II Corinthians 13:14
"Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever
and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." 
Jude 1:24-25
Consider what it means that benedictions are the way to end a
worship experience with a blessing from the Lord.  
Monday, January 2, 2023
In this passage is one of the oldest and loveliest of benedictions. It falls quite obviously into three sections. Each section begins with "The Lord," and then divides into two parts, each of which emphasizes "you," so the six references to you and the repeated emphasis on the Lord add up to seven, a number that was symbolic in ancient near eastern and Israelite culture and literature communicating a sense of fullness or completeness. This makes sense of the pervasive appearance of the number seven patterns in the Bible. There appears to be some ground for assuming that this was a deliberate poetic arrangement. 
A priestly benediction. And God spoke these words to Moses, on this wise you shall bless. In this benediction we have spiritually the love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. 
The blessing was to be given by chosen representatives of God, thus Aaron and his descendants. The first clause of the blessing relates the love of God the Father through which we are preserved. It is a blessing that we have escaped destruction because God has favored us. The second phrase communicates the love of God the Son whereby we have obtained grace. The third phrase conveys the communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit by which we obtain peace.
In blessing the people, the name of the Lord was placed upon them. 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord is the keeper of Israel. 
The Lord will care for them. The Lord will keep them. The Lord will deliver them. 
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. 
The Lord has given proof of this times without number. 
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. 
Consider what it means that the Lord gave this as a
blessing for Moses to share with people.  
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
This is a priestly blessing. This was a special duty ordered by God. The triple repetition of the name Jehovah was supposed by the Jews themselves to contain some mystery. The divine blessing, though uttered on the nation, was designed for each individual. Each of the triple blessings contains a promise from God. The blessing of God is the goodness of God in action, by which a supply of all good pours down to us from God’s favor. The shining countenance of the Lord is the assurance that God will be gracious. We have received the grace and pardon we need. As God permits us to hear the joyful sound of forgiveness, we walk all day long in the light of His countenance. The lifting up of God's countenance may suggest God’s active intervention to secure the blessing of peace. The sun rises on the world signaling the beginning of a new day with opportunities that remind us that the Lord compensates for all earthly woes. 
God's attitude is one of blessing, an expression of favorable disposition. Let it be understood O Israel, that God favors you. Favor means the best of good. Frown means the worst of the worst. The Lord makes his face to shine on you. The sun may and does bless even when not shining, but shining speaks for itself. The Lord is a sun (a guide with light) and shield (a guard which protects), a sight that is sweet and a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold. 
God keeps his people. Security is the first blessing. Graciousness is the second blessing. Peace is the third blessing. God's benediction is suitable to humanity's needs. 
It should be noted that the command was given by God. The Lord spoke to Moses. This is so important and significant that an official group of representatives were set aside to bless people in the Lord's name and put the name of God upon them in perpetuity. This was not just entrusted to anyone but designated for special persons who were assigned this responsibility. The benediction as a prayer for God's blessing was itself a gift from God. God tells Moses to instruct Aaron and his sons - that is all future priest in the line of Aaron - to bless the people of Israel.
Notice the quality of the blessing. The blessing contains three sentences each with two parts. The pattern builds as a rising crescendo. Each line refers to an action of God. In the first part - the movement of the Lord toward the people. The second part relates the consequences of the activity of God and the benefit to the recipient. The Lord takes the initiative to bless and there is a positive result to those being blessed by the Lord. The Lord blesses and keeps, the Lord makes his face to shine and is gracious, the Lord lifts up his countenance and gives peace. There is something that God does which has a positive effect for people. 
By pronouncing the blessing, you put the divine name upon them
The blessing has a threefold dimension to it; the second part appears to be the application of the first. It has been suggested that the use of "the Lord" three times alludes to Trinity.   
Consider what it means that the Lord wanted to give a
blessing to those who worship the Lord.
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Firstly, The Lord bless and keep you. (Numbers 6:24)

The Lord's attitude toward people is one of blessing. The Lord's position and posture would be that of having the power to provide and make available. 
The Lord blesses. Imbedded in the fabric of creation is this notion or idea of blessing. Blessed to be alive, blessed to have health and strength, blessed to be fearfully and wonderfully made, blessed to share in the process of procreation, blessed to have the capacity to love, blessed to be compassionate, courageous, delivered, emancipated, faithful. Biblical history begins in the 12th chapter of Genesis. Hear the word of the Lord to Abraham
The Lord took the initiative to make Abraham aware that the Lord is a Lord of blessing.  
I will make you a great nation and I will bless thee and make your name great and thou shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee: and in thee shall all of the families of earth be blessed.” 
Along with the notion of blessed is the idea of protection and security. Those whom the Lord blesses, the Lord keeps.
In the ancient Near Eastern world, as in most religious communities, past and present, blessings as well as curses were a fixed part of everyday life. The most common Hebrew noun for blessing refers to the power inherent in the spoken word. This suggests that there is a power inherent in the spoken word of blessing which indicates how the power of blessing has become inseparably connected with the purpose of deity. God is discovered as a God of blessing. Where biblical history begins we have a testimony that God said, "and I will bless thee, and make thy name great." Genesis 12:2
Throughout the book of Genesis, you find expressions like,
"I will bless her. Genesis 17:16
"I will be with thee and bless thee." Genesis 26:3
"I am with thee and will bless thee." Genesis 26:24
What the Lord provides is plentiful: (the Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or seek (Ephesians 3:20). 

What the Lord provides is positive: And my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). 

What the Lord provides is productive: And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). 
"The Lord bless you" originally meant "bless you with material good things." But the Christian use of the phrase calls us to give it a deeper spiritual meaning. 
"And keep you", not simply from material misfortune, but more especially "keep you from evil," and above all, "keep you close to himself." Jesus said in teaching his disciples to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13)
Consider what it means that the Lord blesses and keeps.
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Secondly, The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  (Numbers 6:25)
The face of God reflects the personality of the Lord as turned toward or away from humanity. In Leviticus we find the phrase, "I will set my face against thee" (Leviticus 17:10; 20:3,5; 26:17). The Psalmist makes the request, "Hide not thy face from me and do not put your servant away in anger" (Psalm 27:9). The Lord's face hidden or turned is despair, destruction and death. The Lord's shining face is life and light and liberty in the presence of the Lord.  
Those on whom the Lord's face shines have the grace and graciousness of the Lord. There is a look of God which is filled with dismay and a look which is filled with delight. The Lord is compassionate, kind and pleasant. 
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, as a sign of God’s good pleasure and approval until our faces shine with the reflection of the graciousness of the Lord.
The Lord lifts up the Lord’s countenance and be gracious unto you shows the Lord’s graciousness to us so that our lives may be more gracious, more grace-filled, with what Paul loved to call "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 4:23).
Consider what it means that the Lord makes
His face to shine, and is gracious.  
Friday, January 6, 2023
Thirdly, the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give you peace. (Numbers 6:26)

This clause seems to be a repeat of the last one. To lift up one's eyes and face upon anyone is to look upon that one with peculiar interest and tender concern. There is a language of the facial nuances. (facial expressions give clues to a mood, happiness, surprise, contempt, sadness, fear, disgust anger to name a few). Those on whom the Lord's countenance is raised are given what only results from the Lord's countenance, peace.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you. "Countenance" here seems a stronger and more inclusive word than "face". It could mean to impress his spirit (of which his countenance is the visible expression) upon one. And give you peace, a positive peace, peace of heart and mind, through him who is the Prince of Peace. Paul calls it "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
Pacified / calmed and satisfied
Emotionally / aroused or stirred with feelings
Adequately / fully or completely
Charitably / lovingly / I Corinthians 13:4-8
Equitably / fair and reasonable 
Consider what it means that the Lord lifts up
His countenance and gives peace.  
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Finally, they shall put my name upon them and I will bless them. The name of God was not of humanity nor from humanity, but from God's own direct revelation and disclosure to Moses (Exodus 6:3): And God spoke to Moses and said to him: I am the Lord, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name Lord I was not known to them. Therefore, the name of the Lord was sacred. God's name is associated with all that God is. 
God Is...God is, my protection, / God is, my all and all,
God is, my light in darkness, / God is, He is my all and all,
God is, My joy in the time of sorrow,
God, God is, my all and all, / God is, my today and tomorrow,
God, my God is, my all and all,
God is the joy and the strength of my life,
Removes all pain, misery and strife,
He promised to keep me, never to leave me,
He'll never, never fall short of His word.
I've got to fast and pray, / Stay in that narrow way,
I'll keep my life clean every day,
I want to go with Him, when He comes back,
I've come too far and I'll never turn back.
God is, God is, God is, God is, / God is my all and all.
God is my all and all.
God is my all and all.
Consider what it means that the Lord puts His name upon
them that worship and will bless them.  
2412 Griffith Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011 
Phone: (213) 748-0318