In Numbers we read that the establishment of Israel as an organised nation is now complete. It had been just over a year since they escaped from Egypt; the 10 commandments and other laws had been given, the tabernacle had been made and erected and is now ready for use. The priesthood, led by Aaron, had been appointed.

Chapter 6 concludes in a significant way. “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, “Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace”’”.

This was a special blessing, for they were about to celebrate the Passover and their deliverance from Egypt for a second time and then move toward the land promised to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Read the blessing again; encouraging words to stimulate positive thought that the LORD is with you. The phrase to “make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you” is interesting. David refers to this no less than seven times in his Psalms. Moses “knew God face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10), a relationship arising from 40 days in the presence of God on the mountain top.

Our heavenly Father seeks a personal relationship with us through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus represented the Father who Himself “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no-one has ever seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16).

We often sing this blessing when someone takes on the name of Christ through baptism. They have a deep meaning to illustrate the wonder of the relationship God expects us to have with Him when we become a brother or sister of His Son. We must remember them throughout our lives, being conscious that Israel failed to remember them when they faced challenges in the wilderness. May the Lord bless and keep all of us who travel in faith through the increasingly barren wilderness of life today.