Sermon: A Year End Benediction Numbers 6:22-27

Truth Taught- God has promised to bless His people forever with provision and protection. 


As we wrap up 2020 we all can look back and remember challenges.  We can remember the pandemic and all it brought with it.  We can remember challenges when many couldn’t work, when some were sick.  We remember quarantines and school closings.  We remember when our church closed for 6 weeks.  We are living in a time of masks and mandates and a rapidly changing culture.  We are now given the challenge of a vaccine.  Will it be forced upon us like everything else this year?  Will a vaccine which alters your DNA that was produced for a virus that has a 99.8% survival rate and which will not make you immune to the virus but only possibly lessen the symptoms be made mandatory in many respects?  Will your job depend on whether you get it or not?  

About 2.5 million people die in the United States annually.  Recent statistics show a year here and there where as many as 2.7 million people die per year.  This year, the year with the pandemic it is estimated…get this…2.5 million people will die, basically, the same as any other year.  Now we never want to underestimate a threat such as Covid-19 nor forget that many people have had it and some do die and those who have lost loved ones this year.  We show compassion and mercy to all involved.  However, we cannot live in fear as God’s people.  We cannot live trusting in our government to save us or even help us.  I think we are finding out that, in many ways they may just be the enemy.  

As we wrap up this year I want to reset our thinking back to God.  Only God can be trusted to help us.  It is imperative that we trust in Him and not anyone else who claims to have our needs in mind.  Government is only out for themselves and their power.  

So, I thought it might be helpful to look together at our God who can be trusted.  He really does have our best interests in mind.  He really does care for us and wants what’s best.  It is God on whom we can rely.  It is God who moves and blesses His people not the US Government or any other earthly entity.  

So, what is a benediction?

Answer: A benediction is a declaration of blessings from God upon His loved ones. Benedictions are found at the close of some New Testament epistles (e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:14 and Ephesians 6:23-24). Benedictions, though brief, offer words of assurance or precepts designed to bring joy, peace, comfort, and security to those who place their trust in God.
Benedictions from Scripture are often read or recited near the close of a worship service. In this context, benedictions embody a call to unity, faith, and joy among the brethren. Reciting a benediction is meant to encourage believers and stimulate joy and commitment to God. Additionally, many believers find meditating on benedictions during their “quiet times” is a soothing balm which deepens the spirit, provides help for the ailing heart, and strengthens the faltering soul. Benedictions can be a remarkable source of healing because the words themselves are life…

John 6:63 (ESV) 

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 

There are many benedictions recorded in Scripture. Here are a few examples, starting with one of the most well-known:
“The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 121:7-8).
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13).

The benediction or declaration of blessing today from the Book of Numbers has special significance.  God takes the initiative to pledge Himself as the Protector, the Giver of life and peace.  As God makes these promises to His people He is binding Himself to them and because we who believe are Abraham’s offspring us too.

These words are for us today as much as for any others in history.  Here Is God’s promise to you for the year of our Lord 2021… 

Be courageous and be at peace because God is our God and we are His people…

Joshua 1:6–9 (ESV)

Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Let’s look at our text…

Numbers 6:22–27 (ESV) 

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, 

24    The Lord bless you and keep you; 

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

26    the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. 

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” 

1.  Yahweh Initiates the Blessing

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, 

I use the personal name of God here, Yahweh because that’s the original Hebrew of this passage.  I think the translators in order to be simplistic have taken a liberty they should not have taken.  Yahweh is God’s personal covenant name.  It’s more or less His first name.  It’s the name of covenant relationship.  The word LORD that appears in our Bibles is the title for God.  He is Lord.  However, the title LORD is too informal here.  Yahweh is God’s name and He wants us to use His covenant name not His title.  It’s like a wife who is married to a police officer; she doesn’t say officer Smith I’m going to the store does she?  Or I don’t address my wife by her title teacher or Mrs. Evans.  We don’t speak to or about those with whom we have a close relationship by their titles we use their names.  

God first used this when speaking to Moses at the Burning Bush…

Exodus 3:14–15 (ESV) 

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. 

The name Yahweh means…God is unknowable unless He reveals Himself, it means God is communicating his unknowability. God is basically saying to Moses, “You’re asking who I am… But, I simply am. There is no way for me to explain any further.”

God is communicating self-existence. God is communicating that he is the only being in the universe who is stable (“I am the onlyone  who always is.”).  God is communicating that he is the cause behind the universe. Under this view, God is saying, “I am the one who causes things to happen.”  God is communicating his covenant by giving his name.  God is communicating that he reveals himself in history. Put simply, God is the one who acts in history. Unlike the deaf, mute, and powerless idols, Yahweh is the one who acts in history. This fits with the Exodus, because he is the one who delivers his people. 

Yahweh means literally, all the things Yahweh means, God says I am all these things they are who I AM and I AM all these things for you!!
2.  Yahweh Will Provide For and Protect Us

24         The Lord bless you and keep you;

We’ll notice together that these blessings promised by God begin, as it were, with a trickle, just short promises and end with a flood.  This literary design is to show God’s amazing power and trustworthiness.  

So, we pray God will keep us and protect us.  

The first word here is Yaweh bless us means that God will make us prosperous.  He won’t just give us stuff for free but He will make our efforts prosperous.  When we work He will cause us to be prosperous.  He will give us our needs.  In ancient Israel it meant God would bless their fields with a good harvest; God would bless their flocks with fertility and health.  He would not plow their fields for them but He would bless their work.  For us, blessing means God will meet our needs as we work and glorify Him.  

God promises to be Yahweh to us.  He will meet our needs.  He will cause us to be successful as we are His people.  God tells us to speak His Words back to Him in prayer and His Words will accomplish all God promises to do.  He will honor all His promises He’s made to us.  He will bless us.

He will also keep us.  Here He speaks of protection.  Provision and protection.  So, keeping is the preserving power of God.  Yahweh has the power and desire to protect His followers.  Wherever God leads us in this coming year He will keep us.  God will keep His covenant promises and He will keep us secure.  He will be Yahweh to us in the year to come.  He will provide and protect.    

Here is the same sentiment as we look to:

Joshua 24:17–18 (ESV) 

17 for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” 

Why does God provide for us and keep us?  We might answer because He promised He would…why did He promise to?  Because He loves us.  The name Yahweh is the name of God whereby He pledges His love to us His people.

3.  Yahweh Will Make His Presence Shine Forth in Compassion Toward Us 

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

God promises that His presence will be a great blessing for us.  When the Bible speaks of God hiding His face from His people it means He is angry and His mercy and compassion are hidden.  When He 

Yahweh promises that all who come to Him through Jesus Christ He will show love and compassion to.  This promise is two dimensional.  It is made to His people corporately.  He promises to show loving kindness toward the Church and the second dimension is that He promises to show loving kindness to you individually.  

When the blessing is pronounced, what does it say? “The Lord bless…you.” Singular. You… you… you… you. Yes, there’s a mass of people out there, and the Lord’s blessing has a concern for all of them together, corporately; but it also has a concern for them individually and personally. You see, God’s blessing is corporate and personal. He’s concerned about His whole people. That’s the corporate dimension. But He’s also concerned about His people individually. That’s the personal dimension.

I want you to get this today, God’s presence in 2021 will shine forth in compassion toward you.  If you’re in Christ His face will shine toward you.

Yahweh will do this because He has asked us to repeat these Words back to Him and His words are effectual in the purpose for which God sent them.  

4.  Yahweh Will Consistently Give Us Peace  

26         the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

This Hebrew phrase means that God will consistently give us His close attention and make sure we have peace.  Shalom is not the absence of difficulties or trouble but it is a constant confidence and peace throughout all times.  Here God promises the sum total of all His good gifts given to all His people.  

What that means is that God is going to pay attention to you. “The Lord lift up His countenance on you.”

Here’s how Jesus put it:

John 16:33 (ESV) 

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 

What took place in order for God to maintain His justice while extending this kind of blessing upon us?

Jesus received the opposite, if you will, of this blessing.  He is going to experience the exact opposite of the Aaronic benediction on this next day. Rather than receiving the Lord’s blessing, He is going to be the object of the Lord’s curse. Rather than being kept by the Lord, the Lord is going to unleash all the minions of hell upon His
Son. Rather than seeing the Father’s delight shining down on Him, the Father is
going to turn His face from Him. Rather than knowing the gracious forgiveness of
God, He is going to experience the fullness of the penalty for the total weight
of our sin, by Himself. Rather than knowing the Father’s eyes are on Him, He is
going to cry out, “My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” And rather than knowing
the total blessing of God, He is going to be pushed out into that darkness and
into that chasm where there is no peace. And in doing this, He is going to
guarantee the fullness of this blessing coming upon all who trust in Him. But He
Himself is going to forfeit it for you. This is an exceedingly precious blessing.
It is an exceedingly costly blessing.

5.  Yahweh Will Place His Name On Us  

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” 

The way that God is going to mark His people is with a blessing–not with a
brand, not with a bond, but with a blessing. That’s going to be His mark of
ownership. How do you know that these are My people? I’ve put My name and My
blessing on them, that’s how you’re going to know that they’re My people.

And so this blessing shows us God as a bountiful giver, and a strong protector, and a faithful friend, and a forgiving Father, and a reliable partner, and a generous provider, and a unique owner. 

Beloved, this year we do not know what will take place.  We cannot forecast the future.  There will no doubt be good times and difficult times.  There will be tears of Joy and tears of sadness.  One thing we know for sure, God has marked us as His people and the mark is these great blessings He has promised.  Lets be strong and very courageous because the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go.

And if we would just understand this, it would change everything. 

*Resources Used:

Book of Numbers by Timothy Ashley

Numbers by Gordon Wenham

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