Saturday, December 31, 2016

Be blessed

Jacob blessing Joseph's sons
- Artist unknown

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Numbers 6:22-27

TO CHEW ON: "The Lord bless you and keep you." Numbers 6:24

Doesn't your heart just take a deep breath and settle down as you read the few verses of today's scripture? There is something in this Aaronic blessing that feels like a warm blanket when you're shivering, or a cool breeze on a hot day, or a table loaded with food when you're hungry.

This blessing of only three lines (actually one, partitioned by semicolons) contains six actions. Let's look closely at them in order to soak up every bit of this blessing's goodness.

"The Lord bless..."
To bless someone means to consecrate, make holy, honour, exalt, glorify, bestow happiness and prosperity on. It's a powerful enough interaction between people—how much more when the blessing bestowed is the blessing of the Lord. How rich we are!

"..and keep you"
Keep (shamar) means to guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save the life of. When we keep something we retain the possession of it; we don't give it away. God holds onto us in that way. How safe we are!

"The Lord make His face shine upon you..."
The word "shine" ('owr) alludes to the shine of the sun, to illumine, to become lighted up, to make shine as of the face. Watch a mother's face light up when she sees her child. That's how God's face lights up when He looks at you and me. How loved we are!

"...and be gracious to you"
Gracious (chanan[a]) means to show favour, be gracious toward, have mercy on. It is characterized by showing kindness, affability. To be gracious means to be full of compassion and mercy. God is disposed that way toward us. How favored we are!

"The Lord lift up His countenance upon you..."
The picture here is similar to God making His face shine on us. I see, in addition, a focused attention, like a parent looking straight into a child's eyes. God looks straight at and into us. How known we are!

"...and give you peace."
Give (suwm) means to extend, establish, bring to pass peace - a state of mental or physical quiet or tranquility, calm, repose, reconciliation, freedom from mental agitation or anxiety. When God pours His peace over  and into us, how settled we are!

May we realize every part of this blessing as we head into 2015.

PRAYER: Dear God, Your blessing is what we need and want more than anything else, as we enter the new year. Amen.


MORE: "The Gate of the Year"

In December of 1939 Britain was at war. It's easy to forget, knowing what we do today, that at the time no one knew how that war would end.

That year in his Christmas message King George VI concluded his 9-minute broadcast with the lines of an obscure poem by a little-known poet.

"I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness,
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way.'"

He concluded his speech with "May that Almighty Hand guide and uphold us all."

I say, "Amen" to that!

(Read the article "At the Gate of the Year" which quotes the rest of the poem — originally titled "God Knows" but now usually called "At the Gate of the Year" — and tells us more about its author Minnie Haskins [1875-1957]).

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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