Week two of the devotional! This week, our verse comes from Ana Scott, written on the same day as E. Scott’s chosen verses from Proverbs. What a day it must have been on October 18th, 1945 in the Scott household! E. Scott, reveling in words from the Lord spoken in due time, asked his wife to choose the scripture that spoke to her own heart. Maybe they sat together in front of the Bible as she turned his attention to Numbers 6:24-26. Maybe he read it out loud to her so she wouldn’t miss a word as she wrote it down in his notebook: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Imagine the context of this scripture, which is usually referred to as the Aaronic blessing, in Numbers. This blessing was written during a time that was associated with Israel’s wandering in the wilderness as punishment for their rejection of God. Chapter 6 is associated with the year after the Exodus, at the very beginning of Israel’s forty year exile. Seeing this blessing in the context of Israel’s disobedience and their wandering in the wilderness makes me think of how similar each of us is to Israel, and how God is still gracious in His blessings over us.
I often think of the early tribe of Israel pretty negatively. I mean, look at all God did for them in their escape from Egypt. These are people who witnessed an entire sea stand at attention, all by God’s will to rescue them! They witnessed miracles! I catch myself wondering in disbelief at how on Earth they could ever reject God or fear anything at all. In these moments, God tends to remind me that Israel and I are alot alike. After all, I’ve seen God work miracles. I’ve felt God’s presence, and I’ve heard His voice. And yet, I still reject God, I turn to other things instead of him. I embrace fear, uncertainty, and worry. I choose my way, and fall back on my old sins, just like Israel does.
And what does God do in the face of all this rejection? He teaches lessons, yes, but he also pours out blessings, and second chances. Can you imagine how many second chances Israel is afforded by the Lord? How many blessings and promises, how many times the Lord commands us not to fear, even knowing that more often than not, Israel (and ME) is going to choose something other than God. Faced with this reality, God’s message to his children is a promise that He will protect them, that he will show them his face, and that he will give them peace, if only they would turn to Him.
I like to think that when Ana chose this verse and signed her name to it, she was thinking of how faithful God was to her, even though she probably rejected Him all the time, the same way you and I do. I hope Ana found security in God’s promises to Israel, because I know I do.
Also, check out this Hebraic explanation of the Aaronic Blessing that I really appreciated!
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