Leviticus 9:22-24 (ESV)
22 Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Luke 24:50-51 (ESV)
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
Many people question the value of the Old Testament. However, the Old Testament is essential for understanding the New. So much of what happens in the New Testament refers back to something in the Old. Today We see an example, where we compare Aaron blessing the people, and Jesus blessing his disciples. In both cases, it is likely they were using the words from Numbers 6:24-26 which we use in our worship services. What is different is that in Aaron’s case, God’s fire came down and burnt the offering. After Jesus, this never happened again, because on the cross, Jesus himself bore the fire of God’s wrath against sin, and was an offering that is valid forever, and never has to be repeated. So his blessing is pure joy, God simply delighting in his people.
Psalm suggestion: Psalm 80: In addition to the readings below, try reading and reflecting on Psalm 80 each day this week. Three times prayer asks “let your face shine, that we might be saved.” When God’s face shines on us, it means we are in a personal, face-to-face relationship with God. This personal relationship changes everything in our world. It is like turning on the spiritual lights: when we know God personally, we begin to know the truth about God, ourselves, and our world.
Psalm 80 (ESV)
Restore Us, O God
To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Testimony. Of Asaph, a Psalm.
80 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us!3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! 4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. 6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. 7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! 8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. 11 It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River. 12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? 13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it. 14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, 15 the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself. 16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face! 17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 18 Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! 19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!