Summary: the aaronic blessing reveals what kind of a LORD we have and what he wants for us
June 10, 2001 Numbers 6:22-27
22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Tell Aaron and his sons, `This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. (KJV)
Have any of you ever heard of the “Prayer of Jabez”? It is a very popular book out on the market today. In the book, the author writes about a very obscure man in the book of Chronicles by the name of Jabez. The verse goes as follows: Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. The author makes the point that since Jabez prayed for blessings and God gave them to him. Thousands of people have been reading this book. There are some good and bad points and applications in the book.
Today’s text is similar to that prayer - but thousands of people are not reading this blessing. We hear this blessing every Sunday, but how often do we really think about what it’s talking about? Instead of asking for personal blessings - the priests were supposed to bless the people. This blessing was more of a pronouncement than a prayer. Just as there’s a lot to learn from Jabez’ prayer - there’s a lot more to learn from this blessing. So today we are going to attempt to -
Catch the Concepts Behind the Aaronic Blessing
I. It is a command from the LORD
Notice first of all that the LORD commanded Aaron and his sons to pronounce this blessing. It reminds us of the times that God commands us to pray. There are many commands in the Bible. In the Sunday School lesson for this morning, Samuel commanded Saul to completely wipe out the Amalekites - their women, children, donkeys, and cattle. When he didn’t do this, God ripped the kingdom from him. As we sat in the Sunday School teachers’ meeting, we had a hard time comprehending why God would order such bloodshed. Sometimes we just have to put our reason in a drawer when it comes to God’s commands and say, “you just stay there while I do this. You can come out when I’m done.” But when God commanded Aaron to BLESS the Israelites - was this a difficult thing? Was it hard for them to understand? When the LORD commands us to pray, is this a difficult thing? Is it a bad thing? Is it a difficult thing to comprehend? Of course not.
Why did God command Aaron and his sons to bless the Israelites? Why does he command us to pray? Why did the Grinch’s friend demand that he eat green eggs and ham? Why do you make your kids do chores? Why do you make them eat vegetables? Is it because you love to torture your children to death? Of course not. Stick with me here - God commanded this blessing because he WANTED to BLESS His children. Deep thought, huh? It would seem obvious, wouldn’t it. It bears repeating, however - because our LORD gets a bad rap - as being a LORD who demands too much from us - as only WANTING to WORK us to death. Do these phrases sound familiar to you? “What, I have to learn another Bible passage? Do I HAVE to go to church this morning? I know I SHOULD pray, but I’m just so tired at night. I know I SHOULD have devotions, but I just can’t spare the time. I don’t want to give God my first fruits - that’s too much.” We act like God is asking us to put a nation to death - (which was also a BLESSING on the Israelites). Our LORD’s command shows us the simple concept that our LORD is a loving LORD that wants to bless his children. He wanted the best for them. And he wants the best for us. When he commands us to obey our parents - he does it for our good. When he commands us to pray - he does it because he wants to bless us.