Let us pray: Dear Holy Trinity, we need, we want, we crave Your blessing! We desire that Your all-powerful favor rest upon each of us in our lives. Goodness, mercy, peace, confidence, and an appreciation of all aspects of life will be the result. For this we thank You. And we joyously sing Your praises as You continue to bless and keep us every single day. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT!
TEXT: Numbers 6: 22-27
Dearly Beloved By the Triune God:
What’s your morning routine? You get up, make coffee, get the paper or turn on the TV, eat breakfast, shower, perhaps walk the dog and then off you tottle to work. I’m guessing that you never even give that schedule and the ability to do it a second thought. It’s routine. It’s expected. But, what do you imagine a Boston bombing victim who’s lost a limb and is home from the hospital, thinks about that routine? Do you suppose they take it for granted? Or perhaps they savor even the smallest detail of living in such normalcy?
We’ve all used the phrase: Familiarity Breeds Contempt. That is the familiar, the routine, is so expected that we don’t give it a second thought—until it’s taken away from us. The same is true when it comes to our relationship with the Triune God and the weekly blessing that He bestows upon us each Sunday morning. When the service concludes with that blessing, we all sing: Amen. That is: Let this we so for us! But, do we really contemplate exactly what those words of blessing mean and convey? Today we’re going to remedy that situation by dissecting our text under this theme:
DON’T LET FAMILIARITY BREED CONTEMPT!
God doesn’t want us to live in chaos. He desires orderliness. He doesn’t leave anything to chance. That’s why He’s provided us with so many directives, including the commandments, in the Bible. He also doesn’t want us to disrespect Him in our worship. So, already in Moses’ time God spelled out the order and manner in which His people should worship, or honor, Him. Our lesson is one of those perscriptives. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, (the future church leaders) ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you.”
Right here is the first line of the tripartite blessing from God. “The Lord” or title used is actually the Hebrew word “Jahweh” or the most holy name there is for God. It means literally: “He exists. He is the “I am” God.” Jesus later picks up on that when He identifies exactly Who He really is: “I am the Way the Truth and the Life” “I am the resurrection and the Life.” “I am the Door—to heaven.” “I am the Vine, you are the branches.” Etc. God Almighty is blessing His beloved people here. The word “bless” literally means: “to speak well of.” Don’t you want God to speak well of you? Don’t you want Him to tell the angels and saints of your holy deeds and words? Don’t you want God Almighty to convey heavenly riches upon you? Well, He has in Christ! He does it because Christ’s holiness covers all your sins and makes you clean and spotless in His sight. “Keep you.” That is a fascinating phrase. It conveys the meaning of: protect, guard, watch over, and generally make things in life run smoothly for your benefit and God’s glory. And note this well: since God’s Words are not merely informational but also transportational, that is, they have the power inherent within them to accomplish what they say, when this blessing is spoken God’s power flows directly into your life. In Genesis, God said: “Let there be light, and presto, there was light.” So when God says: “The Lord bless you and keep you” presto, it happens and is happening at that very moment.
Have you noticed how this Aaronic benediction says: “The Lord” three separate times? That’s because God is Triune. He is three distinct persons in One Godhead. So, the first part of the blessing is ascribed to God the Father. Now comes the second part ascribed to Christ, God’s eternal Son. “The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.”
“God is light, and in Him dwells no darkness at all.” That is what the Bible says. Christ is the Light of the world. He brings happiness, joy, positive thoughts that uplift, and never-ending love to all His faithful people. His face shines toward you and me. It beams His undeserved love won on the cross directly at each of us. We know that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Many are not saved because they ignore, reject, or take any indepth talk of God for granted. Has familiarity bred contempt within our nation today because churches are everywhere and God is considered an afterthought by most? Don’t let that ever describe you! When someone scowls at you and their face is darkened by anger or rage, it’s not very comfortable, is it? But, then, you can usually walk away and forget about them. However, if God were to do that same thing to you, it becomes a really big deal. For no one can escape God’s anger or hide from Him. Adam and Eve tried in the Garden. David tried when he was caught in his sin. Judas tried, too. Much better to have Christ’s face shine upon you with joy instead of a frown!
“The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Now we have the 3rd member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, involved in this blessing. When you turn away from someone and won’t even look at them, it’s bad. It means you’re totally disgusted with them and want nothing to do with them. Well, the Spirit wants a lot to do with you! He wants to send you eternal peace with God and restore Godly equilibrium in your soul. So, when we hear those words: “The Lord turn his face toward you” they literally are “life giving.” And finally they are “peace giving,” too. Because once again, they convey and give to us exactly what they say. Yes, the Holy Spirit truly is the Comforter from on High Who creates, sustains, and feeds our Christian faith.
God ends this directive for church blessing in these final words: “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Folks, that is a promise of God. God cannot lie. He cannot deny Himself. He cannot ever go back on His words. So here we are today, Christians, believers in the Triune God, who possess the greatest gift in the universe: God’s blessing! Next time you hear that Aaronic blessing pronounced—today in a few minutes, revel in it. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it on the way home and during the entire week. Don’t Ever Let Familiarity Breed Contempt when it comes to God’s blessing upon you! Amen