Yesterday was one of my brothers’ birthdays. For several reasons, my mom’s death and selling the home we grew up in have been the hardest for him. With that in mind, I pondered how best to prayerfully wish him a happy birthday. That process brought me to the words of Numbers 6:24-26. Those verses read: The LORD bless you and keep you; (25) the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; (26) the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
The Lord commanded Moses to have Aaron say these words to the people of Israel. These words reflect God’s heart toward His people. I believe these words express God’s gracious love and concern for us, and maybe to be more precise, His love for you individually. Though Aaron was to speak these words to the people, the word “you” is singular, not plural. God wants some very specific things for you to know and experience.
Verse 24 starts with declaring that God wants to bless you. The big idea of that blessing is that God’s intention toward you is for your good. Part of that goodness means He keeps you in relationship with Him. It also means that God is at work in our lives for our good. The delivery of that good may take a road that we do not always enjoy or appreciate, but the packages of God and the final destination of God are always good.
Building off that, verse 25 borrows imagery from Moses’ life in Exodus 34. God made His presence profoundly known to Moses so that Moses’ face ended up shining. By invoking the call for God’s face to shine on you, Aaron is sharing with us that God desires you to be in His presence. A presence that is marked by His graciousness.
To finish the statement, Aaron is to ask God to lift up His countenance on you. One of my professors suggested that the words of countenance tied to the showering of God’s peace is the functional equivalent of asking God to smile on you. Isn’t that incredible? God is telling us that not only does He tell us that He wants to bless us and bring us into His presence, but He also wants to smile at us. Or to be more precise again, He wants to bless you, have you be present with Him so that He can smile at you. As we finish the first half of 2023, it might be worthwile to take a few moments to read out loud Numbers 6:24-26 and delight in God’s heart toward you. He wants to bless you, have you in His presence, and smile on you. God truly loves you. Receive that truth today and delight in it.