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 ESV
This section of the Bible is called the Aaronic blessing. Of course it is called this because God commanded Aaron, from the Priestly Tribe of Levi, to Bless the Israelites. From the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, this excerpt on the Aaronic blessing is adapted from, with help from Olive tree Ministries. “The act of blessing is deeply rooted in Israelite culture. It bears a wide range of meaning. On the one hand, Jacob’s stealing of Esau’s blessing and the latter’s inability to acquire another from his father, Isaac (Gen 27:30-38), provides a glimpse into the near magical power of a blessing. In that story, to bless is to bestow power for fertility and well-being, which, once spoken, takes on a life of its own. On the other hand, the expression of divine blessing appears to be no more than a stereotypical exchange for “Hello.” The book of Ruth provides an example of how the invocation of divine blessing was part of the everyday language of greeting, for example, when the harvesters welcome Boaz with the words, “The Lord bless you”” (Ruth 2:4).
Leader, God gives us choice. I believe that the worst thing God has given mankind is FREE WILL! I have attempted to give Jehovah back my free will, to no avail. I continue to pray for God to MAKE ME do the things I should do and NOT do the things I should not do. Just like Paul, myself, and many other DISCIPLES OF CHRIST have prayed: “For I DO NOT DO what I want, BUT I DO the very thing I hate… For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15, 18b-19) We must realize apart from GOD, we can do NO GOOD! Our Spirit MIGHT be willing, but our flesh is weak! Jesus, our CREATOR, knows our frame. In the Garden, when Jesus’ soul was UNTO DEATH, He spoke this to his disciples. Today often used as a rueful admission of weariness or other physical weakness, this idiom was first recorded in Matthew 26:41, where Jesus tells his disciples: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Because of our WEAK nature, our flesh we must daily CHOOSE to follow GOD and to NOT follow the ways of this world! 19“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Conduit, ‘A gift that is commanded is NO GIFT at all’! That is why God gives us FREE WILL! Olive Tree Ministries in a blog, breaks down the Aaronic prayer, “The first verb in each line summarizes an activity of God upon the worshiper, and the second describes the results of God’s actions. The result is a threefold blessing. The first emphasizes concrete gifts—blessing and security (guarding). The second stresses the hope that God will be well disposed toward the person (to lighten or shine upon the worshiper) and thus temper judgment with mercy (to be gracious). The third asserts that God will pay attention (lift his face), thus providing fullness of life (peace). The prayer is framed by an opening (“The Lord bless you”) and a closing (“and give you peace).” That in essence is the prayer we should have for ALL. The Lord Bless you and give you PEACE! We must remember the foundation of this blessing is recorded in Deuteronomy chapter 30:11-16; “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.” This is our choice, will we die to ourselves daily? Will we crucify our flesh, by crucifying our heart? Will we transform our thinking, and NOT conform to the thinking patterns, the way of this world? NO JESUS, NO PEACE. KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE! Choose well this day, and the next, and the next…! May the Lord bless you and give you PEACE!