Numbers 6:24-26. The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Everyone wants to feel blessed. We all need to experience the peace that comes when we feel like our life is good. That things are going to turn out alright. That in the end we’re going to be okay. We all just want to be happy.
But how? How do we find blessing and happiness? Where does it come from?
In the East they might say that blessing comes through self-denial. By not loving you will never be hurt. Peace is found in disconnecting.
In America we would say “make your own blessing.” Our Declaration of Independence tells us to “pursue happiness.” We are our own source of blessing and peace. We will be okay because we have the opportunity to be okay.
Others say that blessing comes from God. He fills our lives with all good things. And so we count our blessings and name them one by one. We are #blessed when good things happen, or when we have an enjoyable experience of some sort. Or when it looks like God hasn’t blessed you just keep looking, turn over some rocks, remember that you’re not as bad off as that guy over there, and voila, you’re feeling blessed again.
The problem with all of these is that blessing is connected to the temporal and earthly things of life. Even as Christians we have turned God’s blessing into just another version of wish fulfillment. But these things were never meant to sustain our peace and happiness. And can we be blessed even without such earthly “blessings?”
Recently a TV show called The Good Place explored the idea of a Heaven full of good things. When the four main characters finally made it to the “Good Place” they got everything they ever wanted, forever. But after thousands of years everything stopped satisfying them. They were becoming bored and stupid. The solution: leave the Good Place and walk through a door into nothingness. Just stop existing. Commit cosmic suicide.
The show presented the idea that an eternity of even good things will stop satisfying us. Even “blessings” will stop being blessings. And they’re not wrong. But what they failed to offer was something beyond the “blessings.” In the end there was no Blesser. No God in the Good Place.
What is the blessing that the priest is offering in Numbers 6? The answer is God himself. God will keep them. God is the light that shines upon them. God will live face to face with them. God’s grace toward them will never end.
God’s greatest blessing is not the things of this earth. Not even the good things like friendships, and family. These are shadows. Pictures of the true blessing of the life of God. Every good blessing on this earth will eventually end or let us down. But what about God? Will he ever let us down? Will a life lived with God ever stop being a blessing? Will we ever get bored with it? Will it actually make us numb and dumb over time?
Or is it possible that the life of God is infinite? That it will never stop bringing us joy, peace, love, and grace? Is it possible that the eternal life of Christ isn’t just really, really long but also truly eternal? That God’s wisdom is higher than the heavens (Isaiah 55:9) and that his love is too (Psalm 108:4)? That we will never stop mining the depths of his truth and mercy, and we will never stop climbing the mountain of his grace? That the face of God will never stop satisfying us? That nothing can quench God’s love in our hearts, not even eternity?
“To live is Christ” is the actualization of the priestly blessing of God in us by our union with our great High Priest. God keeps us in Christ. God shines the face of Christ in our hearts. God lifts his countenance toward us by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. And we are eternally blessed with the peace of Christ beyond everything in this world.
In what ways are you seeking blessing or happiness?
You in Christ
How would it change you to believe that the greatest blessing of God was his internal and eternal presence in your life?
Christ in you
Where will the blessing of God’s presence shine through you today?