After giving the Israelites some pretty hard-to-hear instructions concerning infectious disease, jealousy, and vows of separation, God gives a beautiful benediction.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his fact to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
These precious words are often used at the end of church services and many of us can probably quote it. But let’s think a minute about what it’s saying to us today.
Yes, we want the Lord to bless us and we certainly want him to keep us safe. We have the Creator God looking out for us. Is there a greater blessing?
We thank God for grace, his lavish gift of forgiveness when we don’t deserve it. Grace that is greater than all our sin. Amazing.
But this is what jumped out at me this morning. “the Lord turn his face toward you.” Do I really want that when I hold on to a sin and refuse to repent of it? Are there things in my life I would rather God turn a blind eye to and just ignored? Does the thought of a holy God turning his face toward me cause me to feel guilty about thoughts I think or little lies I tell or any disobedience in my life?
When I was a kid we loved to play outside. Sometimes our parents would take us to the lake or walking on a nature trail. We loved monkey bars and giant slides. I experienced a sense of freedom as I ran up hills or climbed as high as I could.
But I can’t tell you how often I would glance toward my mom or dad during my adventures. There was a sense of well-being, safety as I was reminded that they were right there. I rarely ventured beyond their line of vision. They let me play freely and I could be Wonder Woman or a mountain climber if I wanted. But I could be at peace as I explored the world around me with the assurance that they were watching out for me.
That’s what God wants us to know about him. He wants us to venture out into this world and be the people he wants us to be. He wants us to try new things, and spread our wings. And he wants us to welcome his face turned toward us. To be able to do that we must repent of sin.
Can you look into his face and know peace? That’s my prayer for you… for me today.