May 21-23, 2016
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Numbers 6:22-27
THREE IN ONE GOD/THREE IN ONE BLESSING!
1. A Blessing of Protection.
2. A Blessing of Graciousness.
3. A Blessing of Peace.
Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV) “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; 25the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ 27“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
It might be hard to see from the inside, but you can easily see it from the outside. Our sanctuary has a three in one roof. It’s true. Three separate roofs make up the one roof over our worship space. What a blessing it is to have it! It keeps the rain off of us and the sun when it’s hot in summer. It keeps the heat in when it is cool in winter. And can you imagine what might have happened if we had no roof when those geese were up there. I did a little roofing back in my college days but I really don’t know how to build a roof, certainly not one of these dimensions. But it doesn’t matter what I understand about roof making. I’m still blessed by having one. So are you. In a similar way we don’t’ have to figure out all the ins and outs of how God can be three separate persons but only one God to be blessed by Him. It’s enough to be blessed. Let’s rejoice in that truth today as we look a little more closely at some words we get to hear a lot. The three in one blessing!
Now the Triune God is hard to understand. But you know what’s really hard to understand? The fact that this God continues to bless sinners. Let’s consider the context of the three in one blessing. God originally put it in place right after He had led the people of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt. Do you remember how the people acted toward God? As soon as they encountered the admittedly difficult predicament of being caught between the impassable Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army they turned on God really cursing Him for freeing them from slavery. You know the rest of the story how God miraculously dried up the Red Sea so they could pass through safely only to have the walls of water come crashing down on the pursuing Egyptian army drowning them in one fell swoop. Then you know how God had Moses go up on Mt. Sinai to get the Ten Commandments. During that time the people of Israel threw a party for themselves, made the Golden Calf and gave it credit for saving them instead of God. Later they grumbled and complained again and again and again. That’s the thanks God gets. It would be very understandable if God had wiped them off the face of the planet or at the very least walked away and left them to themselves. And yet when it comes time to prescribe the worship life for His people God wants to bless them. Amazing!
God is still amazing because we really are no different. In spite of God’s goodness to us and all the times He has come to our rescue and made seemingly impossible problems work out when the next one comes there we are again, wringing our hands, maybe even mad at God. Grumbling. Complaining. How many times hasn’t it happened that when some success has come our way, on the inside if not out loud, we have taken the credit for it, setting ourselves up as the Golden Calf. God still wants to bless us. He is amazing. And so is His blessing. Let’s look at what it contains.
“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.” The first part of the blessing is a blessing of protection. God does want the best for His people. That’s what the word bless means, to have good things happen. He also wants us protected from harm. That’s what the word “keep” means here. Guarded or protected. Maybe some of you young and old have some kind of a treasure box at home, somewhere special where you keep special things. Maybe your collections or things that have special meaning, maybe your valuables. If God had a treasure box do you know what you would find in it? You. His people. You are God’s treasure. Hold on to that when something you consider bad happens to you. Remember then that just as you can’t understand the nature of the Triune God you aren’t going to be able to correctly judge His actions or allowances. Anything that you consider to be bad that He allows to happen He already has in place a plan to work for your good. Our 3 in 1 God wants you blessed with a blessing of protection.
He also wants you blessed with a blessing of graciousness. The prescribed blessing goes on. ”The LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.” God says He wants his face to shine on us. Have you ever stopped to consider what that means? The opposite of a shining face would be a darkened face. Let me show you one. Now you can see what God means. If it was His will to look on us with a darkened face it would be because He was angry over our sins. Now He has a right to do that because we do sin. Yet that’s not what He wants to do. He wants to have His face shine on us. That means He’s smiling at us. It’s called being gracious. Have you ever been at a very formal occasion like a dinner where a serious social blunder occurred? Maybe a glass was tipped over or a burp slipped out. A gracious host would cover over that mistake, not bring it to everyone’s attention. God is gracious to us. Each day we sin against Him. Unlike many people who seem to delight in pointing out that failings of others God covers over them with the blood of His Son Jesus. He makes them go away. And His graciousness continues. He gives us gift after gift after gift. Our 3 in 1 God gives us a blessing of graciousness.
And He concludes with a blessing of peace. ”The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Similar to have His face shine on us is having the Lord turn His face toward us. It’s another word picture by which the Lord assures us of His love. The opposite of turning His face toward us would be to have Him turn His face away from us. We would call that turning His back on us. Instead God’s blessing indicates that He always welcomes us and wants to see us. He’s telling us that we have direct access to Him in prayer. And He wants us to have peace. You’ve heard this Hebrew word before. It’s shalom. It describes the peace that goes beyond all understanding. It’s not the absence of strife or problems in our earthly life but the certainty that God will take care of things. This peace flows from the peace won by Jesus. Since we know that our sins have been removed and God does not hold them against us we can count on His help in every trouble. We get God’s peace even when there are terrorist attacks and political strife. We have God’s peace through loss of job of loss of life. God wants us to have a blessing of peace. It’s part of the three in one blessing from the three in one God.
For the life of me, I can’t figure why someone wouldn’t want that blessing every week. As God finished his instructions on what was to happen when God’s people worshipped Him each week He said, “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
They, the priests, pastors, will put my name on them and I will bless them! God has bound Himself to bless those who receive this blessing. Who would want to give that up? We know who wants us to give that up. The Devil. Summer’s coming! Will you be receiving God’s blessing or giving it up? The blessing part is up to God. Receiving it? Well that’s up to you. Amen.