Advent: December 1

Advent: December 1

Numbers 6:22-26

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 you
      and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face shine on you
      and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord turn his face towards you
      and give you peace.’”

This “Aaronic” or priestly blessing may be one of those blessings you hear at the end of a church service. It is “priestly” because it was given exclusively to Aaron and his sons, the priests of Israel, to speak over the Israelites.

Aaron and his sons were chosen as priests to serve in the Tent of Meeting, and later, the Temple, to perform the rituals of sacrifice on behalf of those who brought their live offerings as a payment for their sin. The priests were an intermediary between people and God. After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed the role of priest was lost, though some Jewish families may trace their ancestors back to the priestly families of Israel.

The role of the priest was made obsolete by Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest, who made the one final perfect sacrifice of himself, an offering that God has accepted for all time.

The words of this blessing are not a wish list. The first line is sometimes translated, “may the Lord bless you”, and within the sense of that extra word we might be tempted to think that God’s blessing is something that God may choose to bestow on us should he feel like it. That is not the case. God commanded Aaron to pray God’s blessing. God knew what he was offering!

How does this blessing reflect the nature of God?

Who may speak this blessing today?

How are you affected by these words of blessing?

Father God, you gave special words of blessing to Aaron to bless the Israelites. We may now claim them through our Great High Priest, Jesus. I claim this blessing in my life, and I proclaim it over the lives of those I love. Amen.

Further reading: Hebrews 4:14-16