Face Shine

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27)

“I’m just blessed all over.” The elderly man in our congregation always responded in the same way whenever anyone asked him how he was doing: whether times were good for him or not so good. How could he do that? Because he knew he was with God and would be with God forever. “Bless” has become a religious word, all too easily spiritualized into an abstract unreality. It’s not as complicated as we’d like to make it. The word translated “to bless” means simply “to make happy.” God told Moses that the priests should tell the people regularly that God was watching over them with the intent of making them happy. A blessing is simply the opposite of a curse: the opposite of misery and unhappiness.

God’s will for people is that they should be happy. When God made the world, he saw that it was good, not evil. God did not set out to make us miserable. The problem of unhappiness comes as a result of how easily we can lose perspective. The old man, who in whatever circumstances, could recognize that he was “blessed all over” knew the simple truth that allowed him to weather the storms of life: he knew that he belonged to God, that God was with him, and that God would remain with him forever. He didn’t let his circumstances hide God.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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