May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
Relate: My brother-in-law tells his children not to do things that will harm them. However, he also does something some parents would never do. Instead of stepping in, he will watch as his child breaks a rule that can cause minor physical pain. I’ve heard him say, “My son will only stick his finger in the electrical socket once.” He gives his kids rules because he loves them, and the rules are there to protect them. If they choose not to follow the rules, they will get hurt. Hopefully, they are smart enough not to repeat these mistakes. Some may view this as pretty unconventional parenting, but all 5 of his children are still alive and healthy. Not surprisingly, none of them go around sticking their fingers in electrical sockets.
The first ten chapters of Numbers look like this: don’t eat this, don’t touch that, only do this at this specified time, follow these instructions, etc. etc. etc. At first glance, the blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 might seem a little out of place. However, it is, like the text surrounding it, part of God’s instructions to the people of Israel in the wilderness. I would argue that all the rules and instructions surrounding these verses are an affirmation of the blessings God desired to pour out on his chosen people. The rules, instructions, and regulations were put in place to create peace, health, and order.
React: God loves us enough to give us his instructions for holy, healthy living. He also loves us enough to let us make our own choices as to whether or not we will follow his instructions. Just like my brother-in-law, God allows his children to break the rules not because he wants to see us hurting, but rather because he wants us to value our choices. When we, as humans, reject holy living, we create pain, heartache, and suffering. Some people cannot understand the benefit of following the rules until they have felt the shock of putting their fingers in the socket. Once we feel the electrical shock of disobedience, we can see the blessing of the rule.
God wants us to live in his blessing. Holiness is unattainable for man, but God provides abundant grace for our shortcomings. The rules aren’t setting us up to fail; they are the blessing preventing us from added heartache and pain.
God, I pray for your grace to help me to live a holy life so that I can live in the blessing of your presence. I also, pray your blessing on those who are reading this post: May you bless them and protect them. May you smile on them and be gracious to them. May you show them your favor and give them your peace. Amen.