Num 06v22-27 The Lord Bless Thee #1597
Sermon #1597 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “The Lord Bless Thee”
Text: Numbers 6:22-27
Date: Tuesday Evening — December 28, 2004
Tape # Y-55a
Reading: Bob Duff and Larry Brown
Because this is our last public worship service of the year and I will not see many of you again until the new year has begun, I thought it would be good for us to close the year as our Savior closed his life on this earth, with a heavenly benediction (Luke 24:50-51).
(Luke 24:50-51) And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. (51) And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
Turn with me to the Book of Numbers. I want us to hear the blessing Aaron pronounced upon the children of Israel by the commandment of God.
This blessing was commanded after the giving of the law of the Nazarite (Num. 6:13-20). Once the Nazarite had accomplished his vow of separation, he was to bring sin-offerings and burnt offerings to the Lord. Then Aaron, after receiving the sacrifices, would stand in a prominent place, with the sacrifice in his hand, and wave it before the Lord. Upon the basis of the sacrifice accepted, The Lord God commanded Aaron to pronounce this blessing upon his accepted people (Num. 6:22-27).
(Numbers 6:22-27) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (23) Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, (24) The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: (25) The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: (26) The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (27) And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
The sacrifices Aaron waved before the Lord were typical of Christ’s sin-atoning sacrifice by which we are accepted of God. The blessing Aaron was commanded to pronounce is God’s blessing upon all the Israel of God, upon all his elect, as men and women consecrated to and accepted of God in Christ. — “On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Proposition: How blessed the days yet before us will be if, by God’s grace, we are able to grasp the blessings here pronounced upon the whole redeemed family of the living God and make our own.
This benediction was pronounced upon the children of Israel at the close of the public tabernacle service, when the people were about to separate from one another. We are told by the ancient Jewish Rabbi that it was only spoken at the time of the morning sacrifice because the evening sacrifice pointed to Christ (the Messiah) who would come in the evening of time, bringing his reward with him, the reward of eternal blessedness in his great salvation.
The blessing pronounced here is distinctly the blessing of God, the blessing of Jehovah, upon his chosen people. In Deuteronomy 6:4 we read, — “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Yet, he who is our one God, the great Jehovah, is three persons, the Three-In-One God (1 John 5:7): Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is significant that in this blessed benediction the word “Lord,” that is “Jehovah,” is used three times.
In all three cases, the word translated “Lord” (Jehovah) is the same word, but each time a different and distinct accent mark is used. That fact is neither accidental nr insignificant. The word would not be accented differently, unless there were some different shade of meaning intended. The passage was written this way by divine inspiration because it is intended to show us that the blessedness here pronounced upon chosen sinners because of Christ’s sin-atoning sacrifice is the blessing of the Triune God upon his people.
· “The Lord bless thee and keep thee.” — That is the blessing of God the Father upon us, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, with electing, adopting, justifying, and pardoning grace, with regenerating and calling, and persevering grace, and with eternal life.
· “The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” — That is the blessing of God the Son. He has blessed us with redemption and righteousness. We were and are blessed of God in him and for his sake, with all things. And all blessings are in his hands, procured for us by him, and bestowed upon us by him, as bounteous blessings of grace.
· “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” — That is the blessing of God the Holy Spirit, who conveys all the blessings bestowed upon us in Christ to us in regeneration, effectual calling, and conversion, and in the day by day experience of grace. He gives us life and faith in Christ, comforts us, and seals us unto the day of of our resurrection glory with Christ.
This threefold blessing from the Jehovah, whose name is mentioned three times, is intended to direct our thoughts to the glorious Trinity, the Trinity in Unity, whom we cannot understand, but on whom our faith rests, and in whom our love finds delight and satisfaction. Let’s look at these three blessings together.
The Father’s Blessing
1st. We have the blessing of God our Father in theses words. — “The Lord bless thee and keep thee.”
When we are urged to “bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” there is nothing more implied in our blessing him than the ascription of blessedness and praise to him. But when our heavenly Father blesses us, it is the doing of that which brings blessedness upon us. We wish him blessed. He makes us blessed.
We cannot bless God in the sense of giving anything to that will add to his riches or to his glory. He is the infinitely great, the inconceivably glorious God. Nothing that we can do can say or do adds anything to him. We cannot make him more blessed than he is.
When we bless God, we are simply expressing our thanks to him, paying our vows to him with reverent love, gratitude and praise. Let us ever bless him!
(Psalms 116:12-14) What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. (14) I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
(Psalms 28:6) Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
(Psalms 31:21) Blessed be the LORD: for he hath showed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.
(Psalms 41:13) Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.
(Psalms 68:19) Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
(Psalms 72:18) Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.
(Psalms 106:48) Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.
(Psalms 113:2) Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
(Psalms 135:21) Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.
(Ephesians 1:3-6) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless his holy name!” With all my heart and with all the delight of my soul, I ascribe blessedness to my God. I can do no less; and I can do no more. But when God blessed me, that’s another thing altogether.
When God blesses us, he performs blessedness. He blesses us in our very creation, and much more in our new creation.
· It is a blessed thing to be born, but a much more blessed thing to be born again.
· He blesses us in our food, and much more in giving us Christ, who is the Bread of Life and nourishment for souls.
· We are blessed in being clothed, but infinitely more blessed in being clothed with the garments of salvation, robed in the righteousness of Christ.
· It is a blessing to be a member of a kind, loving, happy family; but it is unspeakable blessedness to be a member of the family of God, the Church of Christ, and adopted as the sons and daughters of the Almighty!
Try, if you can, to calculate the blessedness with which the God of Glory has blessed us, is blessing us, and shall bless us all the days of our lives and forever!
(1 Corinthians 3:21-23) Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; (22) Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; (23) And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
· What a blessing it is to have sin pardoned!
· What a blessing it is to be made the righteousness of God in Christ!
· What a blessing it is to be sanctified by God the Father!
· What a blessing it is to enjoy all the privileges and benedictions of the new covenant! — How richly God our Father has blessed us!
He has often blessed us when we did not know it. Many of our Father’s mercies come in by the back door of our house. We do not see them; and when we do, we are far too often ungrateful and forget them. What blessings we have received in trouble—in deliverance from trouble—and in sustaining us in trouble! Oh! what remarkable blessings we have had!
(Lamentations 3:21-26) This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (22) It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (25) The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. (26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Surely, the blessings we have had are but tokens of blessings yet to come.
This will set my heart at rest;
What my God appoints is best.
The future, though it will be marked by temptations, trials, and troubles, will be blessed if the God of Glory is our Father. He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” — “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” — “Thy bread shall be given thee: thy water shall be sure.” — “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned: neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” You have God’s word for it, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” If, during the next year, it is appointed unto you to leave this world, you may confidently sing, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
“The Lord bless thee.” As I say that to every believing sinner here, knowing that the Lord will so bless you, may your soul look forward not with dread, but with hope. “The Lord bless thee” is the benediction of God’s High Priest, Christ Jesus to your soul.
But the blessing of our heavenly Father does not end there. The blessing reads, — “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.” He who blesses you is sure to keep you. Where would we be if he did not keep us? It is God that keeps our lives from death, our bodies from perishing, and our souls in grace. It is written, “He will give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways: they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy look against a stone.” Let us, without reserve, commit our souls to him!
Spurgeon said, “He is ill-kept who is his own keeper. He is worse kept who has his brother for his keeper. But he is splendidly kept who has God to be his shield on his right hand, his glory, and his defense.”
Trust God for your help. If you fear temptation, let this be your prayer, “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able to bear. Go through the wilderness leaning on your Beloved and you shall be upheld, for God is able to hold you up in perfect safety.
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee.” Holy Father, we breathe the prayer to you. — As we read this blessing, pronounce it upon us now by the mouth of your own dear Son, and let us now and until life’s latest hour be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Our Savior’s Blessing
2nd Now, look at the next blessing, the blessing of God the Son, our blessed Savior. — “The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.”
This expression, “The Lord make his face to shine upon thee,” speaks of assured reconciliation. This is the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ upon every believing sinner. God’s face beams and shines upon us with the smile of complete delight, approval and acceptance in Christ! Washed in the blood of Christ and redeemed, justified by the righteousness of God in Christ and accepted, the Lord God looks upon us with pleasure! Imagine that! God’s face shines upon us in his Son!
May he make it manifestly so to your soul this very hour and through all the days of your life. You are accepted in the Beloved. God sees no sin in Jacob, neither does he behold iniquity in Israel. As he looks upon us in his Son, he sees us without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.
Again, a double blessing is here. If “The Lord make his face to shine upon thee,” you are assured that he will “be gracious unto thee.” Because God is favorable toward us Christ, grace comes to us freely and boundlessly!
What a great, all-comprehending word that is! — “Grace!” It has many meanings, and includes a whole universe of blessing. Grace is the free and undeserved favor of God and the mighty operation of goodness. Grace caused us to see our lost estate. Grace led us to see the all-sufficiency of Christ. Grace works faith in us, causes us to love God, and creates our hope in our souls, “a good hope through grace.” Grace carries on its work in us and completes it, too. Grace is a word so comprehensive that I have no hope of ever comprehending it in this world, much less of proclaiming it fully. — “The Lord be gracious unto thee.” Well, now, beloved, he has been gracious to us in the past. Oh! the grace of God to me!
“Oh! to grace how great a debtor,
Daily I’m constrained to be!”
Has grace been yours? Then be assured, Grace shall be yours through all the days of your life on this earth. And when the Lord God has given you all grace, he will give glory, too!
The Spirit’s Blessing
3rd We see the blessing of God the Holy Spirit, by which he who is our Comforter comforts our souls. — “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee.” — The long and short of that is this. — “The Lord give you a conscious, a delightful sense of his gracious favor.” The blessing of verse 25 is God being reconciled to us. That was accomplished at Calvary. The blessing here is God making us to know that he is reconciled to us. That is distinctly the work of God the Holy Spirit.
We are always reconciled to God; but we do not always know it. I mean by that that we are not always aware of it. It is not always sunshine in our souls. Is it? “The evening and the morning were the first day,” and there is evening as well as morning in the days of God’s people in this world. God always loves us; but his people do not always know it. We do not always enjoy a sense of his love.
Oh I what a blessing it is when the Holy Spirit sheds abroad the love of God in our souls. Then, we can say, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
This is the blessing David craved, when he prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” And he got what he craved. Yes, weeping may come for a night; but joy appears in the morning. So it shall be with you and me.
Though we transgress, though we sin, as we surely will, the Lord God will yet, “lift up his countenance upon thee, and” (when he does he will) “give thee peace.”
(1 John 1:9-10) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 2:1-2) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
There is no peace like the peace which we have with God, and no peace with God like that which comes from a sense of his assured love, pardoned sin, and condemnation gone! — “Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When we see in Christ that our peace is made with God, then our peace becomes like a river glorious, and our righteousness deep sea. Peace with God is like bright sunshine after a rain, like the quietness and calm after the storm. When the thunder that caused the earth to quake beneath us and the lightning seemed to rip heaven apart, is suddenly ended, and the sunshine beams through the rainbow upon our souls — That’s the peace I’m talking about! Oh, may God the Holy Spirit give you that peace! The peace that comes only by him revealing Christ in your soul.
· As the Silencer and Satisfaction of the Law!
· As the Sweet-smelling Sacrifice God has Accepted!
· As the One in Whom the Father is Well-pleased!
· As the One in Whom there is No Condemnation, No Sin, and No Curse Forever!
That is the peace of God “which passeth all understanding,” — The peace of God which can only be known by the man who enjoys it — A peace which the world does not give, and cannot destroy, but which heaven itself can work in the soul. I pray you will have this blessing, — “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Yet, there is a peace that follows and flows from this peace of pardon and forgiveness. It is the peace of God’s assured favor in all things and at all times.
(Romans 8:32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
(Matthew 11:28-30) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Now, look at Numbers 6:27, and let me show you one more thing. Here we have God’s “Amen” to the blessing he commanded Aaron to pronounce upon his people. — “And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
First, he commanded the priests to put his name upon his people. And the Lord Jesus, our dear Savior, has put his name upon us. That means that we are…
· His Property.
· Under His Care.
· Accepted Forever!
The divine Amen is in the last verse: “And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” Only two or three words will suffice.
Then comes the blessing of our God, most surely promised, confirmed by his personal word. — “And I will bless them.” I will not attempt to preach from that little, great text — “I will bless them.” I could enlarge upon it by the month. “I will bless them,”
· They shall have their troubles; but I will bless them through their troubles.
· They shall have their heartaches; but I will bless them in their heartaches.
· They shall have their weaknesses; but I will bless them in spite of their weaknesses and even by their weaknesses.
· They shall have their bereavements, but I will bless them in their bereavements.
· The world may curse them; but I will bless them. And none can curse when I have blessed!
· They may die; but I will bless them in death.
· And when all is done that must be done, I will bless them. — Oh, how he will bless us then!
(Psalms 17:15) As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.