The words of this beautiful verse are in my hymnal under “Benediction.” In the Bible, they are words of blessing, commanded by God to be spoken over the nation of Israel by Aaron the priest and his sons.
When I think of God’s blessing, I think of dreams coming true, or times of plenty — a healthy, happy family sitting down to a Thanksgiving Day feast. But recently I was praying for a loved one whose family was going through the opposite — a dark, difficult time that cast a shadow over their lives. While praying, I thought of this verse. The phrases in it lit with new meaning. God, keep them. Keep them from all evil. God, make Your face shine on them. In the light of Your radiance, let darkness flee. God, be gracious to them. Have mercy on them, bring them safely through this difficult period. God, lift up your countenance on them and give them peace. In the midst of the difficulty, even as I ask it . . . give them peace.
That’s the wonder, isn’t it? God can bestow a blessing, whether in times of plenty, or in times of trial.
“The Lord bless you,
and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine on you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance on you,
and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 (NASB)