Numbers 6 (ESV):
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.
This familiar refrain was the blessing Aaron and the priests were instructed to speak to the people of Israel. We usually stop there, but God’s reasoning for this blessing is interesting and comes in the next verse:
27 “So shall they [the priests] put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them [Israel].”
This comes at the conclusion of the giving of the Law, just before the consecration of the Tabernacle. Numbers takes a narrative turn beginning in chapter 7, making this blessing the “amen” to the Law – an indication of what God’s desire was in this covenant: to bless, to shine his face and countenance (that’s an old word, but I kind of like it) on them, to give them peace, to put his name (YHWH, Yahweh, the covenant name, “I am”) on them.
This is also God’s desire when it comes to me and you. We usually keep the second person pronouns in place, like we’re the priests speaking the blessing to others. That’s cool and good to do, but we can also use the first person pronoun and turn this blessing into a prayer:
Put your name on me Lord. Bless me, make your face shine upon me, lift your countenance upon me, give me peace. Pronounce to all that I am your possession, I belong to the God named “I am,” the God who exists. Put your name on me.
Don’t be too shy to pray it. You are Yahweh’s child, He is your Papa. My kids are never shy about asking me for something, especially my time and presence. They walk right into my office and ask. Try that with God, He doesn’t mind, you are not interrupting His day, He likes it when you ask. You could also make it plural and pray it as a group: Put your name on us Lord…
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