Are you looking for peace? Today’s benediction, given by Aaron to the people of God at the end of his life. It includes the promise of Shalom. That was a very meaningful promise to the Jewish heart. It is more than the absence of war. It includes these ideas: harmony, wholeness, completeness, and can even include prosperity as long as the other qualities come with it.
This is not the Shema that the Jewish people repeat often. This is commonly called the Aaronic Benediction. Think of how long this blessing has been given to God’s people. Since back in the days of Moses and Aaron, a few thousand years, this Benediction has been received by God’s people generation after generation. This Blessing was given to them during the time they were waiting to cross the Jordan River to go into the Promised Land but before Moses and Aaron died and Joshua became their leader.
This was the end of one era and the beginning of another.
They wandered in the Desert for 40 years because the generation before them was not willing to trust God to provide for them as they faced many enemies and problems entering the Land. So they wandered as one generation died off. Then God put in a new group of leaders before they crossed the Jordan after Aaron and Moses died. But I’m getting ahead of the story.
Aaron is still alive here. Numbers is the book that reinforces some of the laws and counts the men (so they would know how many they had to fight their wars.) They also learned how big their nation was…and they were now a nation, as God had promised Abraham many years before!
So tucked in among all these details about priests, Nazarites, counting of people, is this wonderful Blessing, that Aaron, the High Priest spoke over the people.
Shalom or peace is possible to find. It isn’t a pipedream. But we must obey God in the ways He requires.
Shalom is possible. It isn’t a pipedream. If you follow after God in the ways you have been told, you will find shalom, the wholeness you so desire. But you will only find it as you worship this one God above all others; As you become part of His family in the ways He says; As you follow Him, the One true God. Here on earth, we won’t find it to the degree we will in heaven where sin and brokenness does not exist, but we can find glimmers of it here by God’s grace.
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 ESV
The sins of their past were many and as we know from their history, they were going to fail the God with whom they had made a covenant many times to come. God already knew about that when He gave them this Benediction yet he still promised blessing to His people, and grace, and a shining face to them.
Because they deserved it? No. It was because of who He was. He is a God who keeps His promises to people. As you read through the Old Testament, you see how He keeps His promises, both the happy ones of blessing, and the unhappy ones of punishment when His people disobey.
This is the blessing of Shalom
And what is His final promise? It is one of peace. It is the peace of shalom. It is peace within yourself because you know in your heart of hearts that you have peace with God. It is even better than a good self-image. It is that sense of wholeness that can be found in Christ.
Why? Because it comes from the one who created you. He looks at you and gives you the blessing of Shalom because He is the One keeping you. He is the One superintending your growth in grace. He is the One who loves you more than you can imagine. He is the One who knows every sin of thought, word, and deed that you have ever committed and He paid for all of it on the cross. Once you receive that free gift of forgiveness, yes, a massive gift for sure, He offers this amazing blessing. More on how to receive that gift here.
- As you think about the history of Aaron and his leadership failures of Israel, what do you find encouraging about this blessing? see Exodus 32
- Remember some of Aaron’s high points: Being Moses’ mouthpiece to Pharaoh, (continues through the chapters on the plagues in Exodus 7-13), Being the first High Priest-Exodus 28-29, Supporting Moses along with Hur during a battle, giving this blessing at the end of his life to remind God’s people of who God is.
- How does this affect the way you will live? Does it make any difference?