Someone sneezes and most people respond with a polite, “God bless you.” How often do we say things like that with little or no thought to its meaning?
One Word –
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
So shall they put my Name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 622-27
Daily Bible Reading: Numbers 6, 7, 8; Luke 23
Big Idea –
God gave Moses specific instructions for how the priests were to bless the people. It is worth noting that while this was a blessing spoken over the people of Israel, the actual blessing is phrased in the singular and not the plural. Thus while the priest would say it when the people were gathered together corporately, the application was made for each individual. For instance, we see how this works in thinking about Jesus’ words in John 3:16; God’s love for the world (everyone) is the motivation for God to send His One and only Son. Why did the LORD do this? So whoever believes (individual) will not perish but have eternal life.
The blessing included three parts:
- The LORD’S keeping or protection for the individual;
- The LORD look upon you with grace;
- The LORD’S face look up to the individual to bring peace or completeness (the turning of the LORD’S face is like a father picking his child up over his head and looking with joy into his son or daughter’s face);
These were not just nice words spoken over God’s people. Notice again what the LORD said to Moses, “So shall they put my Name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” This blessing literally placed the Name of the LORD upon the people. Talk about the power of life and death bing in the words we speak (see Prov. 18:21)!
Now don’t make the mistake of thinking the priestly blessing was just an Old Testament thing. God has made us as believers in Jesus a royal priesthood. Thus we have the right to proclaim the LORD’S blessing over His people. I sometimes wonder if we fully understand what that means (both the power of a spoken blessing and the reality we serve as a royal priesthood – lots to think about).
Yet this priestly blessing makes it clear that the power of life and death truly is within the words we speak. God has given you and me authority to speak blessing over His people. Let’s be careful not to misuse what has been entrusted to us by speaking curses instead.
I must be careful to guard my words so the LORD’S Name and His blessing continues to rest upon His people, beginning in my family and extending to all those I speak to as well.
Yes to Yield –
LORD Jesus, I praise You for the privilege to speak on Your behalf, not just as a pastor, but as a believer whom You have called to serve as a royal priesthood. Forgive me for those times when I have been careless with the words I speak. I do not want to be guilty of pronouncing a curse. Instead help me Holy Spirit to speak words of blessing, words of life. Jesus You are the all powerful, eternal Word. May the blessing of Your Name be evident in every word I speak so as to place Your Name upon Your children.