In the middle of the night, lately, I’ve found myself waking, with some of the same words running through my mind, over and over… and then over and over— as if something deep inside me is trying to reach and grasp something that seems too good to be true, suspended teasingly just beyond my will and control.
In the morning, the memory of those words linger, to express a longing heart, and even more— to express… in the deepest reality and truth— the desire of God’s heart for us.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26).
This Aaronic (or Priestly) Blessing has been called “The Lord’s Prayer” of the first Covenant. It was given by the LORD to teach the priests of Israel how to pray for the people they served.
Looking back, we can read for ourselves how the joy and awareness of this blessing was lost by those who turned their faces and hearts away from the God who had rescued them from idols, slavery, and bondage.
Even Moses was not allowed to see the face of the One whose goodness, compassion and graciousness could not yet be fully revealed (Exo 33:18-23).
Yet, as many of us have now discovered, all of this was moving toward the day when the smile of God’s face would be seen by another diseased and demonized generation— who saw the glory and goodness of a High Priest who allowed himself to be criminalized, tortured, and publicly shamed to show us how much we are loved.
Now we can know, and “see” for ourselves… it wasn’t just for them, but for us, and for all— that the High Priest of God would, on the way to his prayers and sacrifice for us, look up from the ground and into the eyes of a condemned woman to say, “where are your accusers now?”… neither do I condemn you…”
Not just in that day, but in the all that preceded and followed, we have seen how, and why, one nation was chosen— for all— to hear, believe, and trust, even in the middle of the night…
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”