Fruit From the Vine: Benediction

The benediction from Numbers 6 has found its way onto artwork, bookmarks and into the fronts of countless books. It has often been a blessing nicely laid on believers at the end of a church service or a wedding.

It goes like this,

“The LORD (YHVH) 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.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

It often falls a little flat. Not because God’s Word falls flat, of course. But the way in which we use it feels a little plastic and generic, if not egocentric. As if the whole world revolves around us and our graduation or our church service or our wedding. Of course the LORD does bless, does keep, does shine, does give grace, does give peace. But why? Because we’re great? Because we’re worthy? Obviously not.  Simply for the fact that we’re His children and He wants to bless us like we do our own kids? Maybe. But maybe there’s more.

Ps 67 sheds light.

“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. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!” (Psalm 67:1-2, 7)

He blesses and keeps us that we may make Him known. Definitely not so that we can keep it to ourselves. Not so that we can put bumper stickers on our car that say, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven!” Not so that we can live these easy, comfortable, self-centered lives, enjoying God’s gifts and pleasures, and even saying “thank you for your gifts, God,” all the while denying the gift-giver by hoarding the gifts to ourselves. He gives us His blessing so that we can bless others… with Him!  So that the lost might be saved. So people in your city, workplace and even your own household might know Him and fear Him. So that people, nations, and tribes to the end of the earth might know His way and that He is a God who saves.

Don’t put your light under a basket or bury your entrusted treasure in the ground where it’s “safe.” Don’t be safe, be generous. Let others know about the God who blesses you. Not for bragging rights, but for the purpose that He might bless them, too. You have His gifts and favor. Now, live and breathe and move to make Him famous!

[photo credit]