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The Priestly Blessing
Numbers 6:24-26 Three of the most poetic verses in the Bible are tucked away in the Book of Numbers; a blessing that we can use every day.
“‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’”
Numbers 6:24-26 NLT
After over a year of writing devotionals, I’m finally looking at a verse from the Book of Numbers. I have to admit, I find Numbers difficult to get through. Along with the other books of the Torah (Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible), Numbers is a history of the whining, kvetching, and outright rebellion of the people of Israel as they made their way from Mt. Sinai to the Promised Land. As I started my research for today’s devotional, I found some interesting history about this book:
Numbers is one of the better-preserved books of the Pentateuch. Fragments of the Ketef Hinnom scrolls containing verses from Numbers have been dated as far back as the late seventh or early sixth century BC. These verses are the earliest known artifacts to be found on the Hebrew bible text.1
At the very outset of their journey, the Israelites complain against God. They complain against the One who delivered them from slavery in Egypt, sent plagues against Egypt, parted the Red Sea, crushed the Egyptian army, provided food from heaven and water from rocks. God did all of this for them, and the Israelites still chose to grumble against God.2
The message of the Book of Numbers is universal and timeless. It reminds believers of the spiritual warfare in which they are engaged, for Numbers is the book of the service and walk of God’s people. The Book of Numbers essentially bridges the gap between the Israelites receiving the Law (Exodus and Leviticus)
and preparing them to enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy and Joshua).3
Building up to today’s verses in Numbers 6, the Lord is giving Moses the instructions that he will need to pass on to the Nazarites, those who had been selected to bring offerings to the priests making sacrifices to the Lord. These holy people were to follow three primary rules: abstain from wine and all other grape products (vinegar and grapes), refrain from cutting the hair on their heads, and not to become ritually impure by coming contact with corpses or graves, even those of family members.
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After all of the instructions, the Lord tells Moses to have Aaron and his sons (the priests) to bless the people of Israel with a special blessing — today’s verses. God says that He will personally bless the people when the priests use this blessing in His name.
It is a beautiful blessing! What more could you wish for a people — a blessing and protection, having the Lord smile upon you and show you His grace and favor, and give you peace? These three short verses are a wonderful blessing to pass along to those you meet on your daily journey!
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Bless the Lord, O my soul! I pray, Father, that You use me to bring Your blessing to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.