“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
I was in a meeting a couple of days ago and was asked to pray a benediction to dismiss the group. For many, benedictions are little more than ritualistic ways to spiritualize the end of a gathering, and little thought need begiven to what is said…almost anything will do. In truth, a benediction is a divine blessing acknowledging our continuing need for GOD even as we part company from whatever gathering has caused us to be together.
GOD desires that His people be on the receiving end of blessings. So much of the early part of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is focused on the blessings He wants to bestow. Perhaps the most famous example of this desire is the blessing we see in Numbers 6 which GOD gave to Moses for his brother, the High Priest, Aaron to pray over the people. The heart of GOD is to give the best to those whose trust is in Him.
Everyone in the meeting I mentioned were in some type of vocational ministry. Some had many years of experience and others were in the early stage of their journey. The one thing we all had in common was that we all are in roles that require us to speak blessing into the lives of others. As I began to pray, I thought about and vocalized how much we in that group also need divine blessing, that we too are earthen, imperfect vessels in need of continually refilling and refreshing. I asked GOD to bless each one of us with what I’m beginning to call the the 4 P’s, which I expound on here.
As we depart, let us depart with GOD’s peace. Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you” (John 14:27). May we be one with Him and them, as Jesus prayed, and receive the blessing of peace.
As we depart, may we be aware of the Lord’s presence. In the Hebrew Bible and in the New Covenant that followed, the Lord says to His own, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Give us such spiritual sensitivity that we can testify within ourselves, surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
As we depart, may we be filled with His power. 2 Timothy 1:17 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Let us not have minds that underestimate GOD and what He is able to do within us and through us.
As we depart, may we be confident in GOD’s provision. Let us be those who seek first the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and let us rest in the knowledge that our deepest needs are fully known and intimate care is always on its way.
These things are gifts of divine nature that are appropriate for those in relationship with GOD. We all need them for the health of that relationship and we need that relationship in order to receive the gifts.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2020. All rights reserved for original text content.