Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25, 2012 … The Blessing

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Numbers, Chapters 5-6 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Numbers 6: 22-27: … [God’s Benediction and Blessing>… 22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.’ “Say to them:
24 ‘ … The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.
27 ‘ So they will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’ ”

My Journal for Today: Today, in my Bible reading plan, I was led to study/meditate through Chapters 5-6 of Numbers; and at the end of Chapter 6, the above copied passage jumped off the page into my heart. Yes, this is a very recognized passage from scripture which you may have heard in your past as THE BENEDICTION (or spoken blessing) which Pastors or Priests often use to close Sunday services, weddings, funerals, and other special gatherings of God’s people.

I can remember this blessing being spoken by the Pastor to my wife and myself and the friends present at our wedding just before the Pastor introduced us as “Mr. and Mrs. Bill Berry;” and we kissed to seal the vows we had made before God in that special ceremony. And the horrible irony of that was … that, though the traditional words from the Bible felt nice at the time, they really didn’t hold any heartfelt meaning – at least for yours truly; because Christ was not in either of us at the time we got married in a Christian church. And if you know my testimony, my subsequent infidelity of the vows we had taken that day became a pattern in my life for over a decade before, in brokenness, I confessed my sabotage of the marriage vows which we had taken, got my mind/heart right before God, and experienced our marriage being healed and restored into the commitment of righteousness demanded and expected by God in a marriage. So, now our marriage vows have been renewed and we can read those words of benediction above and be assured that our marriage has been blessed in the way that God’s priesthood was to pronounce this blessing over God’s anointed ones, … His chosen children, the Israelites.

And when you meditate on the blessing above, you should realize that this blessing was to be pronounced over the Israelites who were willing (and able) to carry out the commitment of those who had taken the vows of a “Nazarite.” If you go back and read Numbers 6: 1-21, you will see what the Nazarite commitment was all about. It was a service vow to God which was taken by those who were very serious about their relationship with Yahweh. And when they made this commitment, and kept the tenants of the vow they made to God, the Lord blessed them in the way you read in the benediction blessing documented above in our highlight segment for today.

And please note that this well documented and familiar blessing from God – spoken over those who are fully committed to serve God – has three components in the benediction.

FIRST there is the blessing of PROTECTION: “The LORD bless you and keep you.” God promises His protection over those who are fully surrendered and also totally committed to following Him. But notice that this blessing is only given to those who live out their lives, keeping their vow to do what Christ commanded of His disciples in Luke 9: 23 and what Paul later exhorted believers to do in Romans 12: 1-2. And it is those who can take that kind of vow of commitment to follow God and to serve Him who can expect the umbrella blessing of God’s blessing of protection. But … does that mean that the totally surrendered Christian will never have any troubles. No, … it simply, but powerfully, means that God’s committed believers/children will always have God’s blessing of protection – even to provide them with eternal life should we lose our physical lives serving our Lord.

SECONDLY, God’s blessing is one of PROVIDENCE: “The LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.” And here we read that God will provide all the obedient and committed believer needs no matter what difficult circumstances are encounters by the faithful followers of our LORD. That’s what we read in Christ’s new covenant promises written by the Lord’s Apostles, … by Paul in 1st Cor. 10: 13 as well as by Peter in 2nd Peter 1: 1-3. In a nutshell, God blesses His obedient servants with everything we need to take on the vow of commitment which is required of all who claim the name “Christian” in this world.

And FINALLY, God’s blessing is one of providing the believer with His PEACE: “The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.” And when I read this, I can’t help but think. “Hey, Lord, if You promise Your peace to me, why is my world so wracked with peace-LESS-ness or turmoil?” But then I remember that God doesn’t mean in His blessing and promise that I won’t have turmoil or troubles in my life. No, His promise is to give me the grace of His fruit of peace in the midst of life’s challenges. And in that regard I think about the promises of both an OT and a NT passage. And I charge you to go back and study these: Isaiah 26: 3 and Phil. 4: 6-7 where God promises (i.e., blesses) His committed believers with HIS inexplicable PEACE, which is His Spirit-given fruit (see Gal. 5: 22), bolsters us with His enabling grace to deal with the troubles of life (see also 2nd Cor. 12: 9).

And so, if I’m willing to be a “Nazarite” believer and make a vow of surrender and service to my Lord, … being obedient to that vow by my living sacrifice, … knowing that my God’s grace is always sufficient, no matter the trials of life, … God will pronounce His blessing and His benediction over me and my life … FOREVER. And that benediction, as spoken by God to the Nazarite-Israielites, also covers me through my faith in the blood-covering sacrifice of THE NAZARENE, … my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for Your blessing. May I live to show it’s power in my life and be a beacon of benediction and blessing to others. Amen

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