Friday, March 29, 2024

2024.03.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Numbers 6:22–27

Read Numbers 6:22–27

Questions from the Scripture text: Who spoke to whom in Numbers 6:22? To whom was he to speak (Numbers 6:23)? What is he to explain how to do? To whom? In Whose Name are they to speak (Numbers 6:24-26)? What are the first two things that YHWH says He does to them (Numbers 6:24)? What are the next two things (Numbers 6:25)? What are the last two things (Numbers 6:26)? What are they doing when they pronounce this blessing (Numbers 6:27a)? What will the Lord do (verse 27b)? 

What is the priest commanded to do to the people in the worship? Numbers 6:22–27 prepares us for the evening sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord’s appointed worship leader must pronounce the Name of God upon His gathered people, because He Himself will come to them and bless them. 

What the Nazirites delighted in—the Lord Himself and the opportunity to live in fellowship with Him—is something that belongs not just to high priests, not just to Nazirites during the time of their separation, but ultimately to all God’s redeemed. The point of His creating and redeeming them was to come to them and bless them. 

This is what He does wherever He puts His Name: He comes to His people, and He blesses them. This was true of the altar of earth (cf. Exodus 20:24). Then, when the tabernacle was fully inaugurated, Aaron pronounced blessing (benediction) upon the people, confirming to them, from both the altar and the tabernacle, that the Lord indeed had come to them and blessed them (cf. Leviticus 9:22, Leviticus 9:23). 

Now, following the instruction for the Nazirite vow, the Lord establishes this as a perpetual command for Aaron and his sons. Because YHWH is determined to bless His people, they are under obligation to put His Name upon them. After all, they are the shadow of which Christ is the original. In His priesthood, He blesses God’s people. But He didn’t pronounce the blessing after exiting the tabernacle. He has entered and stayed in the true tabernacle of which Moses’s and Aaron’s was a copy. But immediately before ascending, He lifted up His hands and blessed His disciples (cf. Luke 24:50).

And from heaven, through His preachers (apostles, elders, etc.), He continues to pronounce blessing upon His people. 2 Corinthians 13:14 gives a slightly different form, but it is much the same blessing in substance:

YHWH bless you and keep you (Numbers 6:24). The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:14). The first part of the benediction pronounces the life and strength of God both for our flourishing (the Lord bless you) and protection (and keep you). All that God is for all that we need Him to be: grace. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

YHWH make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you (Numbers 6:25). The love of God be with you all (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:14). That which was displayed via the lampstand: the shining of God’s smile upon His people. The love of God and the knowledge of His love. This is what we come into, when the Spirit makes us to know the Lord Jesus as Creator—He makes the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shine in our hearts in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:6). 

YHWH turn (more literal translation than “lift up”) His face upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6:26). The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:14). This turning of the face is what God has within Himself from all eternity. The Word was facing (more literally) God (cf. John 1:1, John 1:2), facing (more literally) the Father (cf. 1 John 1:2). That which was displayed by the table and the showbread: fellowship, shared life. The blessing is the peace, the shalom, the wholeness and fullness that comes of a shared life with God. The peace (all the blessing that we could have) that comes by His grace (all that He is for all that we need Him to be). The peace in which God Himself dwells from all eternity in His own shared life within Himself. It is a fitting climax to the benediction. 

Putting the two benedictions together, we can see that truly they are the same in substance. And this is not surprising. The Lord has always been triune, reserving the fullest and clearest display of Himself for the coming of the Son into the world. All of the blessings come from each of the Persons of the godhead. And all of them have only ever come in the Lord Jesus Christ. There was not some other way of being saved in the Old Testament. It was always Christ. And there was not some other ultimate blessing in the Old Testament. The ultimate blessing has always been full blessedness in fellowship with God.

God is redeeming sinners to bring them into the blessedness of God—into God’s grace, love, and fellowship. The faith of believers in this life is feeble and needs much strengthening. So the Lord commands His servants to put His Name upon them in the worship. The servant pronounces the blessing, but it is God Himself Who comes to them and blesses them (Numbers 6:27). When you hear the blessing in worship, dear Christian, remember that the servant may be pronouncing the words, but it is God Himself Who comes to you and blesses you.

What is the great blessedness offered to you in the gospel? How does it come to you? What lesser blessings are you tempted to go after with your heart and life? Where does God declare this blessing to you instead? How will you make use of the benediction that is declared upon you in the public worship? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for creating and redeeming us to be brought into Your own blessedness. Unto that end, grant unto us Your grace, love, and fellowship we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP15 “Within Your Tent Who Will Reside?” or TPH24B “The Earth and Its Riches”

No comments:

Post a Comment