TEXT: Numbers 6:24-26
READING: Ephesians 1:1-23
SUBJ: A threefold blessing pronounced on the children of Israel with the thought of it being the desire of all the Lord’s people in all ages.
AIM: That we might fully identify as being needy that such blessedness come to us personally and collectively.
INTR: Quite often in the consideration of such a beautiful text as this is we are given to simply recite without meditation. It is concise, expressive, and even poetic.
1. How often do we think of being blessed and fail to enumerate the ways it is and has been applied. We do sing “count your blessings” but perhaps with a view to such matters as health and wellbeing.
2. The thought of the priests being able to confer a state of blessedness on the people does not seem to be indicated here. Rather, it is that which they should look for with expectation from the Lord.
3. There is a strong connection here to all that is pronounced regarding all references to the people of the Lord being blessed by the very presence of the Lord. The beatitudes pertain to people in the Lord’s presence. I cheerfully acknowledge the contributions of the commentators here.
THESIS: It is to be remembered that the form of blessing herein ordered is first ordered of the Lord Himself and may well be considered as the standard for us in all blessedness.
I. The Lord bless thee and keep thee:
1. We take note very quickly of the fact that three times here the name Jehovah is invoked and the thought of a trinitarian presence is not lost on us.
2. In this first there seems to be clear indication of the Father, in the second it is of the Son, and in the third we see the Holy Spirit.
3. It is the blessing and keeping of the Lord’s heritage that is ascribed to the Father (Hawker)
1) Consider first that which is declared in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ...”
2) Then be reminded that Jehovah the Father elects, adopts, justifies, and pardons, regenerates, calls, and enables perseverance. It is He that grants eternal life.
3) The Son is here seen as the procuring agent, and all things must come by Him as directed by the Father to the Father.
4) The Spirit blesses as the Spirit of regeneration and sanctification, as the comforter, and as the Spirit of adoption.
4. And keep thee from the evil one, from sin, its power, from the dominion and so be preserved by the grace of God unto eternal salvation.
II. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee…
1. From John Gill: “Cause Himself, the sun of righteousness, to arise and shine upon them, and give both spiritual light and heat unto them; grant His gracious presence, the manifestations of Himself, communion with Him, clearer discoveries of His love, of interest in Him, and an increase of spiritual light and knowledge of His Gospel, and the truths of it, and of His mind and will.”
2. We are here reminded of the words of Paul: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6).
3. And see further: But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
4. …and be gracious unto thee:
1) By giving more grace to increase ability to worship and praise.
2) To witness an ever-increasing freshness of and awareness of Christ in al that we are or do.
III. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,
1. Robert Hawker saw this as the special function of the Holy Spirit in communicating divine comforts to us as His office is described.
2. To do so by the applications of all the sweet graces and blessings of the Lord Jesus.
3. It is to bring the sense of God’s approving presence to us and to show of the approval of us through the work of Jesus Christ our Lord.
1) One wrote of a “frowning providence.”
2) We look to a smiling confidence that we are made “accepted in the beloved.”
4. So, we would be conscious of His presence, “indulging them with visits of love, restoring to them the joys of His salvation, and upholding them with His free Spirit; and so, causing them to walk pleasantly and comfortably in the ways of God, expecting eternal life and happiness, as God’s free gift through Jesus Christ…”
5. …and give thee peace.
1) Outward peace regarding the things of this world and,
2) Inward peace knowing that He has “…made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. “
6. And we consider: 2Co 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”