Today’s Text: Numbers 5-8
Key Text: Numbers 6:24-26
“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 toward you and give you peace.”
I can remember hearing my father, who was a minister, say this blessing over his congregations often, although he used the version found in the King James Version of the Bible. This meant that in place of “the LORD turn his face toward you” he would say “the LORD lift up his countenance upon you.”
I didn’t always understand what that meant, but I liked the sound of it.
Later, I learned that this blessing is quite ancient. Scripture says God instructed Moses to tell Aaron and his sons, who were to be the priests for the people, that this was how they were to “bless the sons of Israel.”
Still later, I used this benediction – as a minister myself – over my own congregations.
So the words have quite a bit of sentimental meaning for me.
I hope, though, that they are more than that – not just for me but for you as well.
I hope that you hear in them a wonderful description of God. God as
- The One who desires blessing for His people
- The One who is willing to shine His light on us
- The One who is always gracious
- The One who turns His face upon us and, most of all,
- The One who gives us peace.
How richly blessed we are if we receive such a loving gesture from the Almighty.
How richly blessed others can be if we wish that same grace for others.
They are more than words, this ancient blessing.
They are the expression of a deep, abiding wish – for ourselves – and others.
The good news is God is loving enough to answer that wish time and time again.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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