“ The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace. So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
In 2020, one song captured hearts and brought us together; The Blessing. Written by Kari Jobe, Elevation Worship and Cody Carnes, it became an anthem for churches during the Covid-19 pandemic. It spread around the world with nations recording their own versions, from the UK to Belgium to Canada to Nigeria to New Zealand to Mauritius to Argentina and every nation in between. There’s even a Hebrew version and one for the Channel Islands! What was it about this song that led to it being watched and sung millions of times? Perhaps it is down to the fact that the words come straight from scripture and, maybe, because all of us deep down know we need the blessing of God in our lives.
The Aaronic priestly blessing is one of the most quoted passages of the Bible. In 1979 these verses were found in a burial cave outside Jerusalem inscribed on silver scrolls dating to 600B; the oldest biblical texts discovered so far. We use them at every child dedication and as a prayer over those we love. It’s a beautiful promise anyone would want over them; living in peace with Almighty God.
God’s face shining on us is a picture of his acceptance and favour and with this comes the fulness of his peace. Peace is not just the absence of conflict but a positive feeling of rightness and well-being. This fulness of peace comes from God and is only found in Christ. Jesus told us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
This promise in Numbers 6:27 concludes with the source of blessing which is carrying God’s name. Blessing is for those who are in Christ, our “living peace” (Ephesians 2:14 Phillips). If we are living in Christ, then our permanent status is blessed. We apply this in prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we take our requests, devotion and cares to the Lord in prayer, we receive the blessings of acceptance, favour and peace through Christ.
CHRIS & RUTH BAKER
The priestly blessing from Numbers were words we knew, often spoken at infant baptisms and dedications but the words came alive to us as we learnt how to study and understand the Bible and to experience living under the promise of the God of blessing.
In 2003, we stepped into the unknown with our first visit to Romania. Young in our Christian faith, this was supposed to be a one-off mission visit which became the calling of our lifetime. We have known great joy and huge challenges. We always felt that we should support ourselves, running our marine consultancy business - “tentmaking” as the apostle Paul did - so that charity funds could be used for the work in Romania. We learnt that we had a part to play and through study and prayer, our faith grew. We have experienced God’s love, provision, blessing, been supported practically and uplifted spiritually.
In January 2020, our plans for Romania included visits from our family and friends from Living Hope and Four12. Chris had good work projects. Then Brexit started to hit home, Covid cast a shadow and normal was no longer so. Yet our blessings were plentiful, living on a safe island with family, government business support, support from the church benevolent fund and friends. Much to be thankful for.
During summer 2020 we needed to go back to Romania, to encourage families and give cover for staff taking leave. In an immense step of faith, we left the safety of the island and flew into Romania. God was gracious as the visit was timed in such a way that our risk was minimised, and we returned home, earlier than anticipated but safe and sound. Chris managed to secure paid work, which along with an unexpected legacy, changed our financial circumstances for the better.
God has been faithful. In Him we entrust all things. To God be the glory.
What has God said to you through today’s promise?