Turning a Blessing Inside-out

I concluded last week’s devotional with this verse.

 

This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

 

In theological circles they have a term to describe this type of living. They call it cruciform (a life formed by the cross of Christ). It is a concept I use regularly as a filter to assess my thoughts and actions.

 

The other day I was praying through the Priestly Blessing in Numbers 6:24-26.

 

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. 

The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace. 

 

I realized that this blessing wasn’t to stop with the first recipient, but in turn be re-appropriated as an outflow of being blessed. This is a covenantal blessing that can be extended to include others in the covenant with God through a life lived sacrificially. 

 

I will try to unpack this passage to illustrate what I mean in a concise manner. 

 

The Lord bless you and keep you. 

The word bless has two meanings that create a word picture. It means to kneel and to speak well of. The way I see it is when we humble ourselves before the Lord he is then able to speak well of us and extend his covering of keeping grace over us. In turning this blessing inside-out we see that by submitting our lives to King Jesus we are better equipped to not only bless others but to extend keeping grace to our brothers and sister.

 

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. 

I see this passage as subsequent to the first. The Lord rejoices over those he has blessed and makes himself available with mercy, grace, and help in times of trouble. When the joy of the Lord is our strength, we are more inclined to be gracious.

  

The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace.
The Lord longs for us to know him face to face, and it is in this close relationship that we find peace. In the Hebrew mindset, peace (shalom) is the highest form of blessing known to man. Jesus intends that through our earthly relationships we would make known him who is the source of our peace, and how he can be that source to them as well.

 

I pray that we find the grace to turn this blessing inside-out, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength …[and to] love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)

 

Grace and peace,

Brook

 

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