© 2005 by Jerry L. Croasmun
Read -- Numbers 6:22-27
"The LORD said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites.'"
-- Numbers 6:22-23 (NIV)
April 19, 2005 will go down in the history books as the day the Catholic church announced that German born, Joseph Ratzinger had been chosen as their new pope. Cardinal Ratzinger selected the name, "Pope Benedict XVI." My first reaction was, "What a dumb name," and thoughts of Benedict Arnold came to mind. My opinion quickly changed; however, after reading an internet article and consulting my trusty dictionary. I learned the word benedict actually means, "Blessed or blessing."
I had been studying the Biblical passage in Numbers 6:22-27, which is commonly referred to as the, "Aaronic Benediction" or the "Aaronic Priestly Blessing." Some may call me slow, but I had never before made the connection between the words, "Benedict" and "Benediction."
In Numbers 6:24-26 we find the text of the, "Aaronic Benediction" as given to Moses. My prayer is that you will be blessed as you read and recite these words. "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."
In Numbers 6:22-23 we read, "The LORD said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites.'" The Lord continued His instructions to Moses in verse 27 where we read, "So they [the priests] will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them." The levitical priests were to pronounce or say God's blessings over the children of Israel. God had chosen them as His own; choosing to put His own name upon them.
In 1 Chronicles 23:13 we read, "Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before Him and to pronounce blessings in His name forever." Thus, one of the roles of the priests was to pronounce blessings or benedictions upon the people. (See also Deuteronomy 21:5.)
Pope Benedict XVI, a priest by vocation, in his first public address said in part, "I entrust myself to your prayers." As we watch the events of history take place in the days ahead, may we never forget who we are through Christ Jesus. For it is in 1 Peter 2:9-10 where we read, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
May we always be ready and willing to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those we come in contact with. My prayer for you, in closing, are the words found in Numbers 6:24-26, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.
Click on the "Aaronic Benediction" above to hear the audio blessing.