Living In the Favour of God (Numbers 6:22-27)

Sermon notes for Sunday, 24 April 2016

 

LIVING IN THE FAVOUR OF GOD

by Dr. Abri Brancken

 

PRIMARY SCRIPTURE

Num 6:22-27

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 toward you and give you peace.”’

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

 

INTRODUCTION:

This piece of scripture is known by many as the Priestly Blessing. In this passage we see how the LORD wanted Aaron, the High Priest and his sons, to bless the nation of Israel. Let's take a closer look at this wonderful blessing which reflects God's attitude or heart towards us.

 

Point 1:

Each verse begins with the word "the Lord". The word LORD is  יְהֹוָה Yehôvâh (yeh-ho-vaw) meaning the Self Existent or Eternal One. The blessings, goodness and favour they are about to receive, comes from no one else but the Eternal One Himself.

 

v24 says "The LORD bless you and keep you". 

 

When we say that the LORD blesses us, it implies the removal of the restrictions hindering you from living the life you are called to and being what you are called to be. The Hebrew word for bless is בָּרַךְ bârak (baw-rak) and means to kneel as an act of adoration. God loves us so much that He gently comes and presents us with His goodness and His favour. But, what does it really mean to live in the favour of God? We have seen that He wants to let His face shine upon us, but what does it mean? In answering these questions, we need to remember that God wants all of us to live the best life possible in Jesus. We need to live what God destined us for in Christ and be a people who engage in the reality of heaven on earth. The favour of God enables us to do this very thing. The favour of God is a constant source from God flowing towards us. As His children, we need to learn to identify it and live in it. Many people don't recognise it in their lives because their focus is on other things instead of the LORD. We need to see the invisible, where God is working and what He is doing.

 

v24 continues to say that God wants to "keep you". The word "Keep" in Hebrew is the word שָׁמַר shâmar (shaw-mar), meaning to hedge about, as to guard, to protect and to attend to. He wants you to know that you are not alone in this life. His desire is to surround you with His blessing, if you are willing to accept it.  

 

Point 2:

v25 says "Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you". Shine is the word אוֹר ôr (ore), meaning to be luminous like the break of day, to be glorious, to show you light. Light in the Bible often refers to clarity, illumination, understanding, insight, clear and definite direction in life, etc. “The face of God” imports not merely God’s good will in general, but His active and special regard for His people.

 

 

Point 3:

v26 says He will "turn his face toward (lift up His countenance to) you and give you peace". 

 

In order to see what it means when God causes His face to turn towards you, lets take a look at a scripture that shows us what it means if God hides His face. Deuteronomy 31:17 says, "Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them. And I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, Have not these evils come on us because our God is not among us?"(MKJV). Also, Micah 3:4 says, "Then they shall cry to Jehovah, but He will not answer them. He will even hide His face from them at that time, as they have done evil in their doings. (MKJV). It was very important for King David to live in the reality wherein God's face is turned towards him. We see this in Psalm 27:8-9. It reads, "My heart says to You, Seek my face; Your face, O Jehovah, I will seek; Hide not Your face from me. Turn not Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation." Also in Psalm 34:16 we read; "The face of Jehovah is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth."

 

When God's face is turned towards you it thus implies the absence of His anger and wrath. It means that He will not forsake you and leave you to take care of life's issues without Him or to face your enemies on your own strength, etc.

 

Point 4:

Some other interesting facts about this blessing is that;

 

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 toward you and give you peace.”’

 

Num 6:24  יברכך יהוה וישׁמרך׃

Num 6:25  יאר יהוה פניו אליך ויחנך׃

Num 6:26  ישׂא יהוה פניו אליך וישׂם לך שׁלום׃

 

a. The word "you" appears a couple of times. It refers to each individual that makes up the nation, but also the nation collectively. 

 

b. The structure of the blessing is remarkable. It is rhythmical, consists of three distinct parts, and builds in stages to that "peace" that only God can give us as a gift. The word peace is the word שָׁלוֹם shâlôm (shaw-lome), meaning peace, to be safe, well, prosperity and completeness. God's blessing helps us to be complete in life, lacking nothing in order to do and be what God wants us to be. 

 

c. Each line is written in verse, meaning that each line occupies a separate line in the Hebrew text.

v24 have 3 words, 15 letters

v25 have 5 words, 20 letters

v26 have 7 words, 25 letters

 

The letters form a progression, totalling 60. The number 60 is the numerical value of the Fifteenth Letter Samek, which literally denotes to uphold, help, or support.

 

d. Paul echoes this blessing in his letter to the Corinthians. The three sets of terms in the priestly blessing correspond fittingly to the office of the Three Persons in Their gracious work for the redemption of man. The priestly blessing consists of 3 parts and therefore Paul blesses the Christians with the reality of the trinity's (3) working in their lives. Here is the verse, 2 Co 13:14  "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen." 

 

 

PUT MY NAME ON THE ISRAELITES:

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” In God's name there is ultimate authority, victory, dominion. His name is the Name above all names. When His Name is put on us (we are called by His Name) we can partake of the fullness of what God has in store for us. These same words are echoed in Revelation chapter 3. Rev 3:12 reads; "Him who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name."

 

THIS BLESSING SPEAKS OF GOD'S FAVOUT TOWARDS US:

Throughout the Bible we see that it really is God's desire that His people be blessed and live in His favour. His desire is to let His "face shine" on us, thereby giving His favour. Here are some other scriptures that echoes this truth.

 

Is 30:18

"Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him."

 

Prov 16:7

"When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."

 

PROSPER IN EVERY SITUATION:

We are called to be a people who understand that we are destined for His favour in every situation. But, to really live in it we need to understand what favour is. We need to understand that the favour of God does not just imply wealth and material things. Most Christians focus on God's blessing (prosperity or favour) only as monetary and that is where we make the mistake. Such a view is immature and an insufficient way to look at what God's favour is. We often don't see "favour" the way the Father sees it and therefore we struggle to live victorious lives. Favour is often seen as a once off experience instead of ongoing reality. God's favour is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. We receive God's favour because of who Jesus is in us and our unification with Him. Circumstances are not the problem, but your perception of your circumstances is the problem. We need to look at circumstances from God's perspective, remembering that His face is shining upon us. Circumstances can be and often are a distraction that diverts our attention away from God and unto the circumstances themselves. This applies to good circumstances and bad.

 

LEARN NOT TO ASK THE "WHY" QUESTION:

Everything that God does in our lives is relational in nature. He is very focused on His relationship with you and He desires that you grow in your intimacy with Him. He wants you to learn to live in His favour constantly. He longs to let His face shine upon you so that you can experience His goodness in your life and be and do His desires for you. We need to learn not to always ask the "why" question when things happen to us. Very often this question will not get answered. The "why" question is a victim question. We are not victims in any circumstances, but as children of the LORD we are called to live victorious through and within any circumstance. What we need to learn is to rather ask; "What does this mean and what shall I do to partner with God's purposes and nature in these circumstances." We always want the issue resolved, but we need to look beyond the issue, through it, in order to see God's purpose in it. Ask God, "what is it that You want to be for me now that you could not be in any other time." If you grow in the relational aspect, you will have enough to deal with the situation. Situations serve as a tool to thrust us forward in our relationship with the LORD.  God's processes make us rich, not just the outcome. So often we want to skip the process and want the favourable outcome. This approach often contributes towards us not maturing in God. It's very often the process that helps you develop your relationship with God. When you realise that you have His favour upon you, regardless of the situation you are in, it helps you to connect with His purposes in and through the process of working through and dealing with any circumstance. Every situation in your life is different and brings you in contact with a different aspect of who God is in your life. The more you give yourself to the process the easier it becomes. As Christians we walk in victory through difficulties, we don't aim to obtain it. The process of walking through any circumstance is a series of steps taking you from where you are to where God wants you. Sometimes circumstances feel like a battle, but we need to learn the joy in battle. Because of His favour on us, we have victory. Because of His favour on us, we can begin to look at every situation through His eyes and in the right perspective. Our life in Christ wears the enemy out. You pierce the darkness with your identity in Jesus.

 

God is intentionally biased towards those who love Him, but when you are blessed with good circumstances, watch out not to be led by the goodness of the season, but rather by the Spirit. Remember, everything that God does in your life is relational. He seeks a constantly growing and deepening relationship with you. 

Every situation in your life is linked to your relationship with God. We need to learn to live in the secret place, to abide under the shadow of His wings, Ps 91. We must encounter God on a daily basis.  Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God...

 

God is very focused on your relationship with Him. He deals with the obstacles that hinder your spiritual growth.  There are obstacles within you, e.g. your worldly way of thinking, concepts, beliefs, etc. that stop you from making progress, and God wants to deal with each and every obstacle in your life. He wants you to live the life that is yours in Him. Knowing that God looks favourably towards you will help you to focus on the Good News of the Kingdom.

 

When God looks at you He looks at you through the lens of Christ. When God looks at you He sees what is missing from your current experience of Him.  He wants you to experience Him fully in every situation. When God puts His finger on an area of your life that is not working, He is inviting you into fullness and He is identifying the source of your next miracle. It is almost as if God is saying, let’s do something great in that place, this place that stands between you and me. Remember, God always comes with the resources to transform your life. Give him the obstacle and your failures and in return He gives you the resources of fullness of life. We often want to avoid the obstacles in life while God is looking at it with excitement. Never be discouraged by the negative, get passionate. When the enemy deals with you it is with the purpose to bring condemnation, but when the Holy Spirit points something out it is to restore you to Himself. God wants to upgrade our identity in Him!

 

God has given us so much favour, therefore give it to others. Favour does not mean you are not in a battle or will not go through challenging times. Favour teaches you and helps you to find God in every circumstance. His favour causes you to think in such a way that you cannot think any other way. Favour is who we are and how we face life regardless of circumstances. God wants to connect with you at the point of your need. Let Him do it.