The Blessing of God’s Face

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.” “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 67:1-2

The Aaronic blessing, tucked into the middle of what is the often overlooked book of Numbers (chock full of census, laws, and complaining), is a breath of fresh air, and a reminder that in all things, it is God’s nature to bless. I remember singing this benediction as a young person, in four part harmony, and the mere words, in their power and beauty and consonance, washed over us all in inexplicable blessing, a washing and filling of the Spirit, a lifting of our souls to the heavenlies, every time we sang. The inspired word of God does that, and it is ours to receive with open hands, and to pronounce on others.

Clouds of summer w light and rain 2

I am intrigued by the shining face and countenance of God. Is it a look of understanding and love and merciful acceptance? Is it that indescribable light that Moses sought when he asked God, in intimate conversation, to show him His ways and glory that he might know Him? Is it an anthropomorphism of His personal presence, exuding power, warmth, goodness, and all His name means? “Upon” us implies a covering, a bestowing from above, and I find I long for that covering, that veil, that laying on of the divine on my hard head of flesh. (Exodus 33:13-14,18-20)

If I am so blessed as to receive this anointing, what difference is it making? If in the midst of to-dos and hardships, like in the account of Numbers, God reaches out and offers the light of His face, shouldn’t I necessarily see things with greater depth, understand with clearer insight, love more freely? Shouldn’t I be announcing the glories of God’s mercy and keeping and truth, and spreading profusely His love and light to others? Oh, may His benediction on me not stop here! To whom much is given, much is required, and we are not to hoard His bountiful grace and blessing. When He has shone on our faces, we cannot conceal His deliverance, faithfulness, salvation. Where am I allowing a furrowed brow or sideways glance to hide His goodness and compassion? When are stress and stern shrouding my countenance, stiff and unyielding against His gentle kindness that could be touching another? (Psalm 40:10; Luke 12:48)

O Lord, captivate my heart with the glance of Your eyes. Lift up the light of your face upon me, that from me reflects all that You are with whomever I am, wherever I am.  May I be generous in my blessing on others as You are on me. (Song of Solomon 4:9; Psalm 4:6)

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