In the days before Yeshua (Jesus), the priests blessed the people daily in the Temple following the sacrifice with the priestly blessing: ‘Y’varekh’kha ADONAI v’yishmerekha. [May ADONAI bless you and keep you.] Ya’er ADONAI panav eleikha vichunekka. [May ADONAI make his face shine on you and show you his favor.] Yissa ADONAI panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom. [May ADONAI lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]‘ (Numbers 6:24-26 The Complete Jewish Bible)
Traditionally, the priests lifted their hands heavenward holding them in such a way that the light of God shone thru their fingers when the blessing was recited. (Fun fact for all of the “Trekkies” out there; the greeting Spock gave with his hand was a variation of the way the priests held their hands during the blessing! Spock played by Leonard Nimoy was Jewish) No one was allowed to look upon this out of respect for the Lord. Today, many synagogues recite this as a benediction at the end of their services.
Found within the Torah (The Law), this scripture is also called the “Aaronic Blessing”. The blessing was a direct blessing given to Moses from God. Moses was to instruct Aaron on this blessing so that it could be spoken over His people through the priests, the descendants of Aaron. As grafted in children of God, we too, receive this blessing when we meditate upon its words.
As I have said before, the Bible is painted with beautiful word pictures of God, and this scripture is no exception. Hidden within the words, “May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace” is one of the most intimate, and loving glimpses of our Father and Creator. Imagine this, a delighted father lifting his child up in his arms above his head and smiling with pure joy into the face of his baby. This is the picture of God, the Creator, as He lifts His face toward you!
The Hebraic interpretation of the scripture is as follows:
YHWH (God) will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection.
YHWH (God) will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will give you comfort and sustenance.
YHWH (G0d) will lift up his wholeness of being and look upon you and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete.(The Ancient Hebrew Research Center)
Embracing the intent of these beautiful images of God as my Father changed how I viewed myself through the eyes of God. Too many people see God sitting on His throne waiting to hand out punishment when we screw up. That image couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Do we sin, or put another way, screw up daily? Absolutely. Are there consequences to our words and actions? Yup, to that as well. Some call that Karma, others may call that God, but in any case there is a price for stepping outside the natural order of things. We have all experienced that.
How do most of us raise our children? With boundaries, right? Boundaries are necessary. A quick listen to the 5 o’clock news on any given day is a testament to the lack of boundaries in people’s lives, in the school, and in the world at large. Back in the day we said the Pledge of Allegiance in school every morning; there was respect for the flag and all that represented. Now, there are people stomping on it, urinating on it, and burning it in the streets. Used to be there was a sacredness to life; not so much any more.
The Ten Commandments given to Moses (also found in the Torah) were the boundaries for society, guidelines to live by, if you will. Many people who want little to do with God still line their lives up with the guidelines put forth in the Ten Commandments; they respect their parents, keep their marriage vows, don’t steal from others, haven’t killed anyone, so that tells me that the Ten Commandments are a pretty good standard to live by regardless of any spiritual or religious allegiance.
So what does all of that have to do with God looking on us as a treasured child? I believe if we internalized this image of God we would be less at odds with God and less at odds with one another. Who knows, if everyone saw themselves as that child held high, their Creator’s eyes filled with pure love gazing into their faces, eyes of acceptance, eyes of mercy, eyes of forgiveness, the world would be a kinder place for us to live; a world with less hatred, bitterness and strife. What if we saw ourselves through the Hebraic interpretation of the blessing? The image presented in the interpretation humbles me.
Ever held your child or grandchild up in the air and looked into their eyes? Did your heart nearly burst with love, and the joy of this small created being who is dependent upon you, trusting you with their every need? That’s what it is like between God and His Created beings; the way God looks at you. May the Lord lift His face toward you and give you peace……..