Sermon – Help For The Journey (Numbers 6:22 – 6:27) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Help For The Journey

Dan Green, Numbers 6:22 - 6:27, 16 June 2019

Numbers 6:22-27

Numbers 6:22 - 6:27

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24   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.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Now the Pan American Highway is really a remarkable road. 30000 kilometers long, It runs through 14 countries from the top of North America in Alaska to the bottom of South America in Argentina. And as road trips go, this has to be probably 1 of the best. But there is 1 problem. And that is you can't actually drive all away.

There is actually a section of this highway where there is no road. This break that lasts about a hundred to hundred and 50 kilometers is between Columbia and Panama and is known as the Darian Gap. It's a mix of jungle and swampland, and to travel any inland route through the Darian Gap is highly dangerous. The jungle's home to poisonous snakes, anti government guerilla troops, drug traffickers, and with them comes the dangers of robbery, kidnapping, and death. Not for no reason has the trek through the Darien Gap been called the world's most dangerous journey.

Yet thousands of migrants each year from Cuba Africa, Asia, make this perilous journey in a hope of reaching the promised land. The United States of America, the land of opportunity to pursue the American dream. Well, this idea of the dangerous journey describes, well, the setting for these verses that we're gonna be looking at this evening from the book of numbers. Because the situation here is that god's people, Israel have been rescued from slavery in Egypt and are about to embark on a dangerous journey to the promised land of canaan. A land flowing with milk and honey, a picture of heaven on earth.

But before they set off, they'd been receiving instructions from the lord at Mount Sinai. To Moses's god has given the 10 commandments, He's also received directions for building the tabernacle where god is going to live amongst his people. As well as that, they have the sacrificial system. And a ceremonial law so that the god who is holy can actually be present among them, which is what we find in leviticus. Now in the book of numbers, it's time for people to finally set off on their journey.

The 2 to 3000000 Israelites are counted and arranged by tribe, in chapters 1 to 4. If any chapters 5 to 6, they receive instructions about what should characterize them as they make this journey. They should live holy and pure lives as they travel. They are to be holy and pure because the lord whom they are travelling with and whose people they are is holy and pure. It is useful as all these instructions that the lord has given to Moses to pass onto the people are, there was something they needed more.

And that was the lord's blessing. If the law was to bless them, they would have everything they needed as they made this journey to the promised land. The blessing of god is what they needed. And here at the end of number 6, what we see is that the blessing of god is what they are given. So look with me at verses 22 and 23.

But Lord said to Moses, tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them. God says to Moses, this is how Aaron, the high priests and his sons, the priests are to bless the Israelites. What we have here is is not a prayer. It is a proclamation.

If his blessing god proclaims to them, but he is going to give them everything that they need to reach a promised land and to enjoy life there. They would lack no good thing. The lord was going to be their shepherd, and with him as their shepherd, they will not be in want. God tells his people that he's going to bless them. He tells them he's gonna give them everything that they need.

And what we see in particular is that they needed 3 things from the lord as they made this dangerous journey to a promised land. Now before we look at what these 3 things are, Let me just make it a couple of comments about the makeup of a blessing as a whole. First thing to know is that the blessing is made up of 3 lines with each line longer than a previous 1. In Hebrew, the first line is made of 3 words, the second line of 5 words, and the third line of 7 words. There are 12 syllables in the first line, 14 in the second, 16 in the third.

In the first line, there are 15 consonants in the second 20. In the third 25. And and the overall effect that this gives is is that with each line, it's like the the volume of god's blessing is being turned up. And up is getting louder and louder, and that's the effect it's meant to have upon us as we hear it. Second thing to to know is that this blessing is given to everyone who is part of god's people.

So in verse 23, Aaron and his sons are to bless the Israelites as a whole. Even the structure of a blessing gives it a hint of this. There are 15 words in total. And if you subtract the the the free occurrences of a lord, you live with 12 words left, which probably is a reference to the fact that there were 12 tribes of Israel. And so what he's saying is that no 1 who is part of god's people is going to miss out on receiving this blessing.

But then in verses 24 to 26, the blessing is given to you, to you, singular. So if you want to be personally blessed by god, you need to take up your place amongst his people. This means if you're here this evening and you're not 1 of god's people, that is you're not trusting Jesus to save you. You're not relying on his blood shed on the cross. To satisfy god's wrath against you.

If you're not trusting that his righteousness can clothe you so that you are in righteous in god's sight, or you're not gonna be blessed by him. In fact, you are still under his curse. And 1 day you will fully and finally experience that curse eternally in hell. The blessing only comes to you if you are part of god's people, part of his family. I mean, the the final thing to note is that the first half of each line basically says the same thing, but in 3 different ways.

In fact, god is going to bless you if you are part of his people. So verse 24, the lord bless you. That is god's favor is directed towards you. Verse 25, the lord make his face shine upon you. The face here really is expressing and reflecting the will and wishes of the whole person towards another.

It's it's communicating something a bit like our our hands do. We we shake hands to communicate something, don't we? That we agree or or to welcome someone. We we put our heads in our hands to show something, don't we? That that we're devastated.

We put our hands over our mouths to show shock, disbelief, horror, sudden realization. A shining face here says delight. Got it here is saying he's taking pleasure in you. He's looking down upon you and smiling. Of n verse 26, the law turned his face towards you.

And his god is taking notice of his people. Imagine, a father, sitting at home and reading a newspaper on his smartphone. And his child runs in going, daddy, daddy. What would a good father do? Well, Bed, put down the paper or or look up from the smartphone and give their undivided attention.

And that's what god is saying he's gonna do here. When he says, the law turn his face towards you, it's like he's putting down his smartphone and giving his children, his undivided attention. He's looking at you. He's listening to you. He's aware of your needs and your struggles and temptations of frustrations and is ready to act.

The lord bless you. This is how god feels towards his people. And how does he show this that he feels this way about his people? Well, the second half of each line says what the results or the fruits of god's blessing is. That is how the person experiences it, or free things that god says, his people need, and what he will give to them.

As they make this journey to the promised land. So let's look at what they are. First thing that they needed, that we need is god's protection. God's protection, numbers 6 verse 24, the lord bless you and keep you. As he is right, embark on this journey to the promised land, They needed to know god's protection, protection to survive the harsh conditions of a desert, to defend them from enemy attack.

To enable them to resist the temptation to worship the false, attractive gods of the tribes and nations they would encounter as they traveled. And not to embrace their godless lifestyle. They needed god's protection. And as Aaron, The high priest lifts up his hands and proclaims to the people the lord bless you and keep you. He was saying that God was going to bless them with protection, but he won't abandon them.

But he is looking out for them, watching over them, caring for them. They would make this journey under the umbrella of god's protection over their lives. Everywhere they went, god would be with them. He will get them to the promised land. They needed god's protection Secondly, they needed god's pardon, verse 26.

The lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Why did the Israelites need god's pardon? His forgiveness as they traveled to the promised land. It's because without it. There was no way that god could look at him and smile.

There's no way his face could shine upon them with delight. Without god's pardon, his forgiveness, him being gracious to them. When god's face looked to them, it wouldn't be to bless them, but to curse them. Because you would only see their sin, their rebellion, their unbelief. Although they had been told to live holy and pure lives as they traveled to the promised land.

They simply would not be able to do this before long, they would disobey god. They'd be unholy and impure. So if god's face was gonna shine upon them, they needed his grace. Otherwise, there was no way that he could bless him. They need god to be compassionate and gracious for him to be slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.

For god to not treat them as their sins deserve or repay them according to our iniquities. They needed god's pardon. And as Aaron, the high priest lifts up his hands and proclaims to a people, the law make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. He was saying that god was going to bless them with forgiveness. That may have sin would not stop god from blessing them.

God's protection. God's pardon, and it meant thirdly they needed god's provision verse 26. The law turned his face towards you and give you peace. This word, peace we usually understand as referring to the end of violence between 2 warring parties. But but a word peace in Hebrew is is more than just the end of fighting.

It means that the violence has gone and everything is being rebuilt. We're talking here about total renewal and restoration. God's pardon removes god's anger at his people because of sin. And by giving them his peace, He's saying that he's gonna provide for their total well-being, to put them back together again, to make them into the people they were meant to be. I needed god's provision both material and spiritual.

And as Aaron, the high priest lifts up his hands and proclaims to a people, the law turn his face towards you and give you peace. He was saying that god was going to bless them by providing them all they needed to live. And by protecting the Israelites, and pardoning the Israelites, and by providing for the Israelites. First 27, we see that god was giving his name to them. So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

As the Israelites received a blessing from the law, they were being branded by him, marked out as his. And as those who carry the name of the lord, he promises to bless with his protection. His pardon this provision so that they will make it to the promised land. Do you see that these words here were wonderful words for the Israelites to hear? In fact, they were remarkable words for the israelites to hear.

They needed god's blessing, but actually there was no way they should have received it. No way they should have been given it. Just think about what they were like up until this moment. Having just been released, re released rescued from slavery in Egypt, and brought safely through the Red Sea. What do they do as they travel to Mount Sinai?

They grumbled against Moses and against god, about the lack of food, about the lack of water, then as they camped at the bottom of Mount Sinai, And god makes his covenant with them, giving them his law. What did they do as they waited for Moses to come down? They got Aaron to make for them and idol, a golden calf, which they worshiped. These rights should have been cursed by god. They should have been destroyed by god for this.

Yeah. God says here, but he will put his name upon them. And bless them with his protection, his pardon, and his provision. How can he do this? How can god bless these grumbling, ungrateful idolaters?

Well, the answer to this, how questions by comes by asking a when question. When did Aaron When did the high priest proclaim this blessing to the people? Well, we're told in leviticus 9. Livisticas 9 22, we read Ben Aaron lifted his hands towards the people and blessed him. And what had he done prior to that?

And having sacrificed a sin offering, the burnt offering, and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. But blessing comes after a sacrifice is made for the people by the high priests. A sacrifice that are tones for the sins of a people. A sacrifice that is cursed and killed instead of a people. That's how the Israelites can be blessed with god's protection and god's pardon and god's provision.

Because a substitute has already taken the curse they deserve. That's how god can place his name upon them. Because something has already died in their place. Now this is where I think this passage gets really exciting. And I hope this evening you're going to be excited about it as I am.

Because let's let's work this through. Who does the high priests picture and 0.2. Mr. Jesus, are we all on the same page here? Good.

And who does the sacrifice a high priest offers on the behalf of a people picture and point to? It's Jesus. It's Jesus dying on a cross. All agreed? Brilliant.

Jesus is the lamb of god who takes away the sins of the world. So Jesus The sinless son of god, our great high priest, offered himself as a perfect pure and spotless sacrifice when he died on the cross. He who, for eternity, had only known god's blessing, as he hung there for the first time was not blessed by god the father, but cursed by him. He who for eternity had experienced god's smile, for the first time he's looked down upon in Roth and anger. He who, for eternity, had the father's gaze, his undivided attention, his care, and concern.

His face turned towards him for a first time, sees his father's face turned away from blessing him. Jesus is slain for us and for us in. He received a curse that was ours because like the Israelites, we don't deserve to be blessed by god. We deserve to be punished in hell because of our sin, our rebellion, and our unbelief. Now once Jesus, our great high priest, it offered himself up as a sacrifice to attain for sin.

He then rises from the dead as proof that the penalty had been paid. But a curse of god upon his people had been removed. Now having done all this, What should he do next? What does the high priest do once the sacrifice has been made and accepted? Well, here in number 6, he blesses the people.

He says, may the lord bless you and keep you? May the lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. And what does Jesus do? After making his sacrifice by dying on the cross and showing that he was accepted by his father by rising from the dead.

Luke 24 tells us. Luke 24 verses 50 to 51. When Jesus had led his disciples out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. Jesus shares the blessing that was his, with his people.

He says to them, may the lord bless you and keep you? May the lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you? May the lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. He puts the name of the lord, father, son, and holy spirit, upon them, the name of the father. Who is a source of all blessing, and who blesses his people with every spiritual blessing, whose plan and purpose it was to send Jesus into the world to save sinners.

Who has promised to protect his people because no 1 can snatch him out of his hand. And who has begun a good work in them, and will bring it to completion. He puts the name of a father upon them, He puts the name of a son who has secured all these blessings for them on the basis of his holy and righteous life and his sacrificial death. Where every sin his people would commit was laid on him, and he received the curse they deserved. He puts the name of a father, and the name of a son, and the name of the Holy Spirit who replies to them all the blessings of a father that have been secured by the son as he assures them, but they are forgiven, accepted.

Loved and protected, and who works in them restoring the image of god as they grow in Christlikeness. But Jesus doesn't just bless those disciples that were standing in front of him. We're told that he was blessing them as he left him, as he ascended into heaven, and that is what he continues to do. Jesus is now pouring out the blessings that come from the father through the spirit upon all his people. He's saying to those who have repented of our sins, and who are trusting in him to save him, who have had the name of a father and of a son and of the Holy Spirit put upon them in baptism, you have god's protection.

You have god's pardon. You have god's provision. This is yours. He is giving us what we need. Because like the Israelites needed god's protection, pardon and provision as they traveled to a promised land because it was a dangerous journey.

So do we? We too are on our way to a promised land, the new heavens and a new earth. And this too is a dangerous journey. We need god's protection because there are enemies that attack us and surround us They want us to give up. They want us to go down the wrong path.

And this will be the case until we reach heaven because only there will we be completely safe? We need god's pardon because sin is still a reality in our lives. And it will be until we reach heaven because only then we will be sinless as we see the lord Jesus as he is. And we need god's provision, his help to live a holy and pure life that pleases him. To be the people he wants us to be, to do the things he wants us to do, to be more and more like, Christ.

Only in heaven will the good work that god is doing in us now be completed as we are glorified. Protection, pardon, provision. Those are the 3 things god says we need as we travel the narrow path. That leads to eternal life. It's no surprising, but when Jesus teaches his followers to pray, What does he tell him to ask for?

Provision. Give us today our daily bread. Pardon. Forgive us our sins. Protection.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil 1. We are asking god to bless us in that prayer, and he will because Jesus was cursed for us. God will answer our prayers He will give us his provision, his pardon, and his protection so that we make it to the promised land if we are his people. Now what effect should all that we just seen and heard have on us if we are trusting in Jesus? What what should our response be?

Well, it's this. Every Sunday, when you gather together as a local church, You should come hungry for the blessing. For the benediction, But benediction, you know, what that is? It's those words at the end of a service that says, well, the service is now over. Right?

No. That's not what it is. It's it's not an announcement about tea and coffee is to be served or carry on talking to 1 another before you go home. No. The benediction is always meant to be the climax of your time of worship.

Because having praised god as we've done, this evening. Having prayed, thanking Jesus for saving us, praying for his provision is pardon and protection. For the spread of the gospel for the growth of a church in Christlikeness in the community and it belongs. Having heard his word read and preached revealing the lord Jesus to us. His person, his work, his will for our lives, individually and collectively, having recommitted ourselves to him.

Having done all of that, which is what we do when we gather as god's people each week. We are almost almost ready to go out into a new week. Ready to go out to live holy and pure lives. To bless others by speaking the good news of Jesus, so that they can enjoy god's blessing as they trust in him. To encourage 1 another to obey everything, Jesus commanded to spur them on to love and good deeds.

But we're gonna be doing this this week in hostile territory. Surrounded by godlessness, sin, and temptation. So before we leave, before we scatter, There's something else we need. We need the benediction. We need the blessing.

We need to hear the lord Jesus tell us as we leave But as we go out into a new week, to fight the good fight of faith with courage and boldness, but he will never leave us and forsake us. But he is with us by his spirit because he is. We need to know that we have God's protection. But god is with us, that he will never leave us off, say, because he will be with us always till the end of the age. You need to know that right.

As you go out into this new week, you need to know that god will be with you. You need to know that you've got god's pardon. That when you mess up, when you fall into temptation, whether it be very minor or spectacularly, that there is a path back. That you can come confessing your sins confident that he will forgive you and purify you from all righteousness. But he will they will give you that fresh start that you desperately need.

You need to know that you're you've got god's pardon. I bet you need to know that you've got god's provision, but his spirit is at work, giving you everything you need for life and godliness. But he will help you to live this life, but you have the strength you need to be witnesses for him, to be liked for him. But benediction gives us this confidence. It sends us out knowing, but we're not alone.

But god is with us to bless us by keeping us. But god's face is shining upon us to be gracious to us. Have our god's face is turned towards us to give us peace. Those are words you want to hear as you go out into this week ahead. Those are words you're desperate to hear.

As you come to a service, and you each come with all different things going on in your mind, different cares, and concerns. The thing you need to know as you leave is that god is with you to protect you. But god is willing to pardon all your faults and failings, and that god will provide for all your needs. Come desperate every Sunday for the lord's blessing. And may you leave knowing that you have it because you're part of his people.

Let's pray that we would. Love, we need your blessing. We need the blessing that you have secured for us by your son, the lord Jesus, and his death in our place as our great high priest who has offered himself as that perfect sacrifice. That has taken the curse that we deserve. We need that blessing that is applied to our lives by your spirit.

We thank you for that in Christ. You have blessed us with every spiritual blessing, but we have your protection, but you will be with us. To protect us. We thank you about no 1 and nothing can snatch us out of your powerful hands. We thank you that we have your pardon, your promise to forgive as we confess our sins.

We thank you that there is no sin that, is too much for you to forgive. We thank you for the lord Jesus' sacrifice on a cross was sufficient to pay the penalty all our sins deserve. Thank you for the confidence that gives us to come quickly to you. In repentance, trusting again in what your son has done. And all we need your protection, all we need We pray, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil 1.

And we do pray that I would be so in this week ahead. That you would help us to stand firm against the evil 1, against the pressure of this godless world, against the the cravings of our own simple desires that rise up in us? Or would you protect us from ourselves and protect us from your enemies? And we ask that you would bless us so that we can live holy lives. That we can be witnesses for you in the communities, in the places you put us, that we can be a blessing to others by telling him how they can be blessed by you.

If they trust in the lord Jesus. So, lord, may we leave this place knowing that you are blessing us and keeping us but you are making your face shine upon us and being gracious to us and that your face is turned towards us. And that you are giving us peace. Oh, ma'am.

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