Sunday services regularly end with the benediction: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26. What does it mean?
First, “[t]he Lord bless you and keep you.” In old Jewish tradition, fathers, at the end of life, blessed their children by wishing them well and dividing up all his property to help them get there. Similarly, if God blesses us, God is delighted in us, wishing us well and committing His power to help us get there.
Next comes wishing for the Lord’s face to shine on us. Before His face could shine on us, we need Him to turn His face toward us. God turning His face toward us implies God having a personal relationship with us.
After the Garden of Eden, we have lost a personal relationship with God. That’s why God told Moses that no one could look at His face and live. In order to have His face turn toward us and shine on us, we need God’s grace.
Where does the grace come from? In the olden days, the benediction came after offering sacrifice, which provided the grace. As for us, via the sacrifice of Christ, we have God’s grace. Now God’s face could turn toward us and shine on us, and we could have God’s glory. John 17:22.
The Latin root of “benediction” is to “speak well of,” denoting our wish to have God affirming us. As social beings, we like to have someone of importance speak well of us.
God’s blessing gives us the ultimate affirmation. That’s one reason the benediction ends with peace from God. If we have God speaking well of us, we don’t need to desperately seek others to speak well of us. This would give us peace.
We have God’s blessing because we are God’s children, welcomed into God’s almighty family. This gives us at least the following: the identity (the confidence), the powerful support, the help not to live randomly according to our ways, the security of a family member no matter how bad we are, and the intimacy with God.
May we enjoy the benediction. May we share this benediction with others, building them up.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon
下一个是希望主的脸光照着我们。 在祂的脸光照我们之前，我们需要祂将祂的脸转向我们。 上帝的脸转向我们意味着上帝与我们有个人关系。在伊甸园之后，我们与上帝失去了个人关系。这就是为什么上帝告诉摩西，没有人可以看着祂的脸仍然还可活着。我们先需要神的恩典然后祂的脸才可转向我们, 光照我们。
恩典从何而来？在过去，祝福是在献祭之后的。 献祭提供了恩典。至于我们，通过基督的牺牲，我们得到了上帝的恩典。现在上帝的脸可以转向我们和光照我们，我们可以有上帝的荣耀 （约翰福音17:22）。
这“祝福”是拉丁语根源于“说你的好话.” 我们希望得到肯定, 得到重要的人说我们的好话。