BLESSING OTHERS as ‘THE PRIESTS OF GOD’
February 10 Bible Reading: Numbers Chapters 4-6
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." ‘“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them." (Numbers 6:22-27)
After the Israelites removed all defilement from their midst (see chapter 5) and dedicated themselves to God (6:1–21), the priests were to bestow a liturgy of blessing on the people (vv. 22–27). By performing this ministry the priests would “put the Lord’s name” on the people so that they are identified with God in such a way so as to ensure His grace and goodness toward them always.
This is one of the most beautiful priestly benedictions in the Bible and is given in part in Psalms 4:6 and Psalms 67:1. This blessing continues to be the ‘priestly prayer for Israel’ and invokes the power of the divine name Yahweh three times serving as a mark of God’s outstanding grace and mercy. In his book 'Notes from My Bible', the famous evangelist D. L. Moody wrote these flattering words concerning this priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27:
"Here is a benediction that can go all the world over, and can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it: it is the speech of God: every letter may conclude with it; every day may begin with it; every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing—keeping—shining—the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord himself who brings this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthems."
This threefold, divinely inspired blessing was to be pronounced by the priest with uplifted hands (Lev. 9:22). It moves from a general blessing (v. 24), to an invocation of God’s favor and presence (v. 25), and finally to a climactic mention of the peace that comes only with God’s gracious presence (v. 26). The pronouncement of this blessing placed God’s covenant name ‘Lord’ (Yahweh) on the people (v. 27). This blessing includes God bestowing prosperity, protection, grace, favor, glory, provisions and peace upon His people, and they would bear the benediction of His name as a mark of identification that they were His people.
As the current priesthood of God (1 Peter 2:5, 9), we are commanded by Jesus Himself to bless those who curse us (Matt 5:43-45) and persecute us (Rom 12:14). We can read words of blessing for believers in Apostle Paul’s concluding words to his letters (see 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 13:20–21). What a privilege it is for us to share God’s blessing with others! He blesses us so that we may be a blessing (Gen. 12:1–3). No matter how trying your circumstances may be, you can always bless others with a smile!