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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Round 2, Topic No. 1 "May the Lord Bless You and Keep You"

Numbers 6:24-26 says this:

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace."

Unknown to many people is an archaeological discovery made in 1979 at Ketef Hinnom, just southwest of the old city wall of Jerusalem.  A team, led by Gabriel Barkay, found two miniature silver scrolls (or amulets) rolled up  inside a burial complex that had been used by the Turkish army to store rifles during the Ottoman Empire.   Etched in ancient Hebrew upon two silver scrolls was the inscription of the Aaronic blessing/priestly benediction from Numbers 6:24-26. These scrolls had remained rolled up for three years before they attempted to unroll them.  They were cracked and corroded.  It is the oldest extra-biblical reference to YHWH.  These silver scrolls date  back to 7th century BCE.

(taken from

The great Aaronic blessing: God desired his blessings to fall upon those who were faithful so that they could experience peace and wholeness in their relationship with their redeeming God.  This short blessing can be recited much like the Serenity Prayer when we need a reminder of who God is and how he acts toward us.  He blesses us; he cares for us; he is gracious to us; he is present with us; and he brings peace into our lives.

A blessing is a hopeful prayer. A blessing was one way of asking for God's divine favor to rest upon others. The ancient blessing in these verses helps us understand what a blessing was supposed to do.  Its five parts conveyed hope that God would (1) bless and keep them (favor and protect); (2) make his face shine upon them (be pleased); (3) be gracious (merciful and compassionate); (4) turn his face toward them (give his approval); (5) give peace. When you ask God to bless others or yourself, you are asking him to do these five things.

The simple words of this blessing reflect God's desire for his people. He is the source all blessings, grace, and peace in life; only through a relationship with this God can we hope to experience the fullness of life described here. The blessing seems to build to its final word - peace. The beautiful Hebrew word shalom used here means much more than an absence of conflict. It implies a complete sense of well-being, health, and contentment. God offers this to anyone who is willing to follow him, and especially to those whose
lives have been bruised and broken.  The blessing you offer will not only help the one receiving it, it
will also demonstrate love, encourage others, and provide a model of  caring to others. 

The wicked know nothing of peace. There is no peace saith the Lord, for the wicked; they are like the troubled sea - but you don't need to go to the Bible to find that out; if you will look around you, you will see it. If you have not got peace, it is a sure sign you have not found the true God, for the Peace of God will
keep your hearts and minds if you have found him. Look in the 6th chapter of Numbers, 26th verse: "The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." The Lord will keep thee; the Lord will
give thee peace,.. solid, real peace such as the world cannot give or take away. When a man has left a will, how eagerly we read it! We don't care much for a dry law paper, but if it has got our name in it with a legacy we never find it dry. Now God says, "My peace I leave with you."

Oh, child of God, have you got it? None of us have enough of it. I get angry and disturbed and make a fool of myself very often; I wish I had peace enough to keep me from it, but God gives good measures, shaken up, pressed down, full measure. Let our hearts be open to receive the peace of God. ~D. L. Moody

Questions & Answers to Share with your KOTH partner:

  1. What is the definition of a "blessing"?
  2. Name the 5 ways in which a blessing is to help or aid the person receiving it.
  3. What can we experience when we have a true relationship with God?
  4. What is the definition of "shalom"?
  5. Write out a prayer of blessing for your KOTH partner.  It can be lengthy or short, but it must be heartfelt and scriptural.  If you have trouble with this, write in your own words the scriptural blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26.