I am currently working through Numbers in my time with the Lord, and was so excited to see another mom post a brief commentary on chapter 8, which I just read yesterday. Leah Finn aptly says,
[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.”
(Numbers 6:22-27 ESV)
This beautiful, familiar blessing falls right in the middle of passages about the Nazirite vow, and offerings for the tabernacle, and indicates God’s blessing on all of his people (not just the Nazirites, who had been referenced immediately before this passage). The notes on the ESV Study Bible state that the word “Peace” does not indicate simply the English meaning of “lack of war”, but “total well-being”. How wonderful to seek and serve a Lord who gives us peace!
My pastor, Andy Davis, is currently preaching through the book of Hebrews, and I love that I am reading the Old Testament while he is preaching through this New Testament book (you can listen to his great sermons here, scroll down to find all of the Hebrews messages). Hebrews focuses on the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the angels, Moses, Mosaic Law, Melchizedek, and the tabernacle—what a perfect accompaniment to a study of the Pentateuch! As I have been reading through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, I am continually reminded of my sinful nature, my inability to meet ‘God’s standards’, and the fact that I must daily rely on Christ, who died a perfect atoning death and was raised to a glorious resurrection-for His glory and for my salvation!
So that’s where I am! May I recommend a good study Bible as you read God’s word? I love the ESV Study Bible, and Broadman & Holman recently released the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, which is also a good resource.
As one last note in my rambling thoughts, I recently read the book, A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper. This small, easy to read book walks through the book of Ruth with the Bible passages included in the text of the book itself. Though it is not a ‘typical’ Bible study with blank lines for you to respond to questions, it is wonderful way to study this Old Testament book that has a lot to teach us about sex, race and the sovereignty of God.
Here are a few other interesting tidbits of information on this chapter should you be interested:
I am using B. Maarsingh’s practical commentary on Numbers and have enjoyed its quick insight on the various passages I have been working through…
- -From vs.2, Maarsingh comments that the word usage indicates “something extraordinary, impressive, marvellous is being referred to in this passage.” This is an interesting reflection of a Nazarite.
- -A Nazarite could be lifelong (i.e. Samson or Samuel) but probably more readily for a specific period of time. My question: Would the person instituting the Nazarite vow determine the time period of the vow prior to making the vow? Would the priest determine this time period? Or, was the time period to be decided at any point in time during the process of the vow?
- -Maarsingh’s comment on the Nazarite’s restriction from touching dead bodies is a refreshing look at the beauty of the gospel. He says, “Death is the last enemy to be abolished by the Lord; between him and death there yawns a chasm—and those who are consecrated to him must keep their distance from the dead.” Has not death lost its sting when we consider Christ’s atoning work to restore the relationship with us that was ruined by sin? I liked that this was not just an arbitrary restriction, but one of significance. Personally, OT books like Numbers, can be more difficult to see the significance in passage, but it was interesting to see the parallel to the cross here.
- -The benediction is “artfully constructed in the Hebrew.” I wish I knew Hebrew to further understand the beauty of this benediction! Maarsingh stated that the meaning of the benediction is further clarified through repetition; “the second part of each line clarifies the first part. The content is as follows: (1) the blessing evidenced is preservation of one’s daily life; (2) the making of God’s face to shine brings his complete favour into effect; and (3) the lifting up of God’s face over his people totally permeates their existence with peace.” It was a good opportunity for me to take a closer look at this passage having sung this song many times in choir and church. I appreciate the depth of God’s love which is displayed by studying the passage a bit more.
Leah asked some great questions in her post which I will duplicate: What are you reading in God’s word? What has the Lord been teaching you about Him through your Bible reading?!
Feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading!