The Lord Bless You and Keep You…



the lord bless you and keep you...

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 6:22-27

You may recognize this as the common Benediction at the end of worship services. It is the Aaronic blessing given by God to Moses for Aaron the priest to say to Israel. You may have heard it a hundred or a thousand times. Sometimes, we hear things a lot, but never take the time to really understand them.

So, what does it mean?

The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Hebrew word we translate as bless is to kneel, show respect, or give a gift. It can literally mean to kneel in respect as you give a gift (think of the Magi in the Christmas story). God is giving us a gift. Then there’s, “keep.” This word is the same as the word for, “thorn.” It refers to how a shepherd out in the fields at night would arrange thorn bushes to surround the sheep and provide a barrier from predators. To keep is more than to possess. It means to guard and protect.

the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

Have you heard the phrase, “The person was beaming.” It refers to a big smile. “Make His face to shine upon you,” is for God to smile at us and show His happiness with us. This is as opposed to showing His displeasure at our sin. God shows mercy on our sins and graciously (unearned) treats us well.

the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Lifting His countenance, again, refers to God’s face or God looking upon us with favor. Lastly, there is peace. This peace, Shalom, is not just an absence or conflict as we often use the term today. It has to do with your whole self. It is a state of wholeness and well-being without danger or strife. We have this kind of peace because of God’s favor.

So…

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.

Amen.

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Kurt

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