A Blessing For You

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I’m not sure if the Irish have cornered the market on blessings, but they certainly have a lot of them. Here are a few:

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.
May the soft winds freshen your spirit.
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you.
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and the road downhill all the way to your door.

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been
the foresight to know where you're going
and the insight to know when you're going too far.

May God grant you many years to live,
For sure he must be knowing.
The earth has angels all too few.
And heaven is overflowing.

and my personal favourite:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Tucked away in Numbers, a book that challenges most of us when we try to sit down to read it, is a beautiful blessing that sums up all we could ever want from the Lord. It was what the priests of the Old Testament were instructed to pronounce over the people that they served.

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
” (Numbers 9:24).

The reason for the blessing is stated in the following verse: “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

The rites and rituals of the Old Testament were meant to be constant reminders to the people of their God.  Today, in an age of self-help gurus, videos, conferences and books, it is often easy to forget that even while we can’t sit with our arms folded and not take affirmative action in our lives, ultimately it is God who gives and takes everything we are and have in life.

This blessing was something to wrap around their minds and hearts as Israel went off to begin another round of the daily life. The mundane of routine was to be as much covered by God as the high and lofty seasons of those “mountaintop” experiences.

The Lord.
The Lord.
The Lord.

I suspect that all the instructions that Moses and Aaron passed on to the people from God might, at times, have seemed overwhelming. There was so much to remember, so much to do, so much to avoid doing. But every time they heard the priest repeat the blessing they would remember why they were making the effort.

The Lord.
The Lord.
The Lord.

His protection, His grace, His peace, His presence, His name written all over them for all the world to see, were blessings that could never be weighed and measured beside anything else that could ever have been offered them.

This blessing, or something similar to it, is not often repeated today, though we occasionally hear it attached to prayer or repeated as a benediction at the end of a service. But like that piece of candy that many waiters and waitresses deliver to the tables of their diners along with the bill for the meal, the blessing become that touch of sweetness and encouragement that comes after we have been exhorted and challenged as once the Israelites were by Moses and Aaron.

To begin with praise and end with blessing is a pretty good way of packaging even the most challenging of messages from the Word of God.


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