Monday, March 08, 2010

Praying a blessing on God’s people

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Numbers 6:22-27 (New Living Translation): Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

The Mosaic books of Leviticus and Numbers are filled with laws and rules and regulations for the Israelites. They come rapid fire, one after the other – more than 500 laws total. Some of the laws are for the general populous, some are for the priests or Levites. Some are on food restrictions, some are temple rituals that were to be followed. Most were on general living.

Then God sneaks in this nifty blessing for the people. He calls it a “special” blessing. It’s sort of a little reminder to the people that God wants to bless them. God gave them all these laws to live by, and he knew they would try and fail. Still, he took the time to let the people know that they, his chosen people, were blessed among the nations. God wasn’t giving this blessing to the pagan nations surrounding Israel.

I grew up with this blessing in the church my family attended (and my mom still does; 42 years total). Most Sundays, at the end of the sermon, before sending the people home, the pastor shared this simple blessing. I didn’t think much about it as a kid, but as an adult, these words mean a lot to me. Every once in a while, I hear a pastor or speaker pray this blessing on people, and it makes me smile.

Saturday, I spoke to single-parent family leaders at the Bay Area Sunday School workers’ convention in Castro Valley. At the end of my workshops, I prayed a blessing on those leaders, because they have an almost-impossible task. Sometimes, I pray blessings on people, because I know they’re working hard to serve God and to remain faithful. God still wants to bless his people. Next time you pray with someone who is going through tough times, take the time and pray a blessing on their life. Use this passage if you don’t know what to say. Then watch God’s blessing come upon that person’s life.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, I pray a blessing on the many people who serve single-parent families. I pray that you give them strength and conviction to continue helping single-parent families. Amen

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