Monday 29 July 2019

Echoes of Blessing #1: A Favoured People

The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
‘“‘The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face towards you
and give you peace.’”
‘So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’
Numbers 6:22-27

How would it feel to go into the rest of this week joyfully confident of God’s favour resting on you? What difference might it make to how you’d approach the things you’ll do, the conversations you’ll have, the decisions you’ll make?

Confidence comes in knowing that God is the source of every blessing.

We see something of his intent on the first page of the Bible when God blesses the creatures he has made – to be fruitful, to multiply, and flourish. And he blesses human beings too – as made in his image and called to steward the earth, to exercise loving rule over other creatures. God’s plan to bless creation is reinforced with the call of Abraham in Genesis 12 when God promises to form a people through whom he will extend blessing to all nations.

The Lord reinforces his larger purpose in the ongoing blessing of the Israelites mediated through the priests. Somehow he knew they’d need a regular reminder.

For them as for us comes the reassurance that the Lord and the Lord alone is the one who blesses his people. For them as for us the blessing declares that God cares for us and keeps us, delights in us and forgives us, watches us and restores us. That’s how God marks out those who belong to him. No wonder that these words of blessing shaped the worship of Israel through the centuries as, in different contexts, the people of God echoed the promises made and occasionally glimpsed how it would spill over to others.

And the words speak to us and shape us in the process of doing so. It’s somehow too easy to look for blessing in all the wrong places, to be uncertain of the father’s love for us, unaware of his enfolding grace, unsure of his gift of peace. It’s too easy to forget that every day his face lights up as he sees us, because his favour rests on us.

Because of the God he is, we’re not only encouraged to live under the reality of being treasured by him, but emboldened by the conviction that there is nothing worth having that he withholds from us. This God who, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:3, has ‘blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’, is the same God today.

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