Scripture: Numbers 6:24-26
Key verses: (24-26) “The LORD 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.”
Reflection: Today’s key verse is known as the “Aaronic Benediction.” It is a very ancient blessing, with forms of it appearing on jars and amulets from the 8th century BC, roughly 2,800 years ago. In its narrative dating this blessing is offered sometime in the 15th century BC as the Israelites are making their way toward the Promised Land. Some form of this blessing has been uttered over God’s people for 3,500 years. Suffice to say, it’s got some staying power!
Its structure is three simple lines, increasing in number of Hebrew words from three to five to seven. Each line contains two verbs: bless and keep, shine and grace, lift and peace. The pairs of verbs can be understood as the action of God and its result upon the worshipper. God’s blessing brings security (kept,) God’s light tempers judgment with grace, and God’s attention to us, (lifting God’s face to us,) brings fullness of life, shalom in Hebrew, which is translated, “peace.”
What a way to start the day! Thanks be to God for this ancient blessing pronounced over countless people through the centuries. May it bless you today.
Prayer: For the prayer, I invite you to listen to this musical rendering of the Aaronic Benediction by Misha Goetz and her father, Marty here.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].