The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons,
‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
‘The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.’
‘So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’” Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV)
It is always a good feeling when you know someone really likes you. I’m not talking about teen age infatuation type of liking someone, but rather that kind of like when you are liked just because you are you. The kind of like that causes people to go out of their way to be around you or to be a part of what you are doing. Saying to someone, “I like you,” is one of those complements that we probably don’t share enough when we are around friends and family that we truly appreciate. “I like you” can often be more powerful in someone life than saying “I love you!”
But does God like us? I think we are all fairly convinced that God loves us…even in spite of our grumpy or complaining attitudes about life. But the idea that God likes us is quite a bit different.
The blessing found in Numbers 6 gives us a hint of the Lord’s attitude toward us. We often hear this blessing spoken by a pastor at the conclusion of public church services as it was given by God for Aaron and the priest of Israel to speak over the people of Israel to remind them who they were and how God thought of them.
Each of the six verbs from this blessing could be interpreted to describe distinct actions of God toward his people but are most often interpreted in pairs. The first verb in each statement summarizes God’s favor upon the us, and the second describes the results of God’s favor. The threefold blessing or favor of God over us looks like this: The first emphasizes God’s blessing toward us and protection over us. The second stresses that God will favor us or “really like us” (to shine upon us) and be gracious towards us. The third declares that God will pay attention to us (lift his face to us), and provide “shalom” which is often translated peace, but might be better interpreted as fullness of life. Shalom includes good health, security, harmony, wellness, material prosperity, and a long life. Everything that was ours in the Garden of Eden before the fall. It’s like God is saying…I liked you then, and I still like you now. This is even more emphasized though the redemption of Jesus in the life of followers of Christ.
So, if I were to summarize this Saturday morning devotional, I would remind you, “The Lord loves you…and He also really ‘likes you too!’” I hope that this makes you smile…I know it does me.
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