"THE LORD BLESS YOU."
I. THE INSTRUCTIONS TO AARON AND HIS SONS.
A. The office of the priest was twofold; intercessory and benedictory.
1. As an intercessor he stands before God interceding for man, as he brings to God the sacrifice for sin, for dedication, and for peace.
2. He then stands before men pleading the case for God's love and goodness, and encouraging men to walk in the ways of God that they might know the good life.
3. As a benedictory, he stands in the presence of men declaring the blessings of God. He then stands before God bringing the praises of man.
B. In the passage before us we see the benedictory aspects of the priest as he stands before man declaring God's blessings.
And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
1. Thus this benediction followed the offering unto God the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering.
2. Having offered the sin offering, the first stanza of the benediction is "The LORD bless thee and keep thee."
3. Having offered the consecration offering the second stanza, "The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee."
4. Having offered the peace offering, "The LORD lift His countenance upon you and give you peace."
5. The purpose of these offerings were to bring man into fellowship with God.
a. The first thing that had to be dealt with was sin. It was sin that separated man from God. Hence the necessity of the sin offering.
b. The next step of fellowship is the consecration of our lives to God. This is represented in the burnt offering.
c. It is only then that we can have real fellowship with God which is represented in the peace offering. I now have peace with God, the sin issue is settled. I have dedicated my life to Him, I now sit down in fellowship with Him and enjoy peace with God. The war is over, I have surrendered to Him.
II. THIS IS THE WAY GOD WANTED HIS NAME TO BE PUT UPON THE PEOPLE. "AND THEY SHALL PUT MY NAME UPON THE PEOPLE."
A. Again His name is not God. God is who He is, the self-existent Eternal Creator. His name is Jehovah or Yahweh. No one is certain of the exact pronunciation of the Hebrew tetragrammaton. In Hebrew text you just have the four consonants YHVH with no vowel markings, so one pronunciation is as good as the other.
B. It is a beautiful name whereby God declares to man His nature. "The Becoming One." God becomes to you whatever your need may be.
C. In Exodus we read that God proclaimed His name to Moses.
And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah.
And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Jehovah, Jehovah Elohim, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].
III. THIS IS HOW GOD WANTED HIS NAME TO BE PUT UPON THE PEOPLE.
A. Jehovah bless thee and keep thee.
1. God wants to bless His people; He desires to bless you. He is the source of blessings.
a. The word bless literally means to kneel in order to serve.
b. We see it manifested in Jesus when on the night of the last supper with His disciples, He took a towel and girded Himself and washed their feet.
2. Paul opened his letter to the Ephesians with these words.
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ.
3. The words keep you, speak of taking care of your needs.
4. God is able to keep you.
5. Peter speaks of the wonderful blessings for those who are kept by the power of God.
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6. Jude in his benediction said, "Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before His presence with fullness of joy. To the only wise God our Savior be glory and honor, dominion, and power both now and forever amen.
7. God puts His hedge about you to keep you safe.
B. Jehovah make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee.
1. Make His face to shine upon thee.
2. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
3. In verse 24, we saw Jehovah as the source of the blessings, in verse 25, we see Him the channel of blessings. Grace and truth have come to us through Jesus Christ.
4. Paul speaks of how we with unveiled faces as we behold the glory of the Lord are being changed from glory to glory.
5. In the book of Hebrews, we are told that Jesus is the brightness of His glory. The word is effulgence, or the outshining of His glory.
6. It is in the person of Jesus Christ that God has manifested His graciousness unto man.
a. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
b. Talk about unmerited favor, the fact that Jesus took my sin and died in my place, that is something that I did not merit or deserve.
C. Jehovah lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
1. There are those who see the trinity manifested in this priestly benediction. The threefold mention of Jehovah.
2. They see parallels with the benediction of Paul to the Corinthian church.
a. May the love of God, "Jehovah bless thee and keep thee."
b. And the peace of Christ. "Jehovah be gracious unto thee." Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
c. The blessed communion of the Holy Spirit. Jehovah lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. The peace offering was the communion offering, the idea was that you were to sit down and eat it together with God.
3. Jehovah lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
a. This seems to have the meaning of Jehovah smiling upon you. Lifting up His countenance.
b. When a person frowns, we say that he is downcast. When the countenance is lifted a smile forms.
4. The result of the work of God in our lives is peace.
a. Peace with God because the war is over.
b. We cannot have peace with ourselves, until we have peace with God.
c. So many people are at war with themselves. There is a constant inner turmoil. There is a passage of scripture that says,
The wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
[There is] no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
d. I cannot have peace with others until I have peace with myself.
5. Again through the prophet Isaiah, God said:
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I [am] God, and [there is] no other.
6. Tired of the turmoil, the hassle of life, the constant strife?
May the LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD smile upon thee, and give thee peace.