Numbers 6 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“The L_rd spoke to Moses: ‘Tell Aaron and his sons how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: The L_rd bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the L_rd look with favor on you and give you peace.
In this way they will put my Name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’” Numbers 6: 22-27
This blessing which the L_rd commanded Aaron to bless the people with, is known as the “Aaronic” Blessing. In Jewish culture, it is also known as the Birkat Kohanim, or “Priestly” Blessing.
Here’s an interesting item for all Star Trek fans. Remember Spock’s “Live long and prosper” sign? Well if you do it with both hands, and join the thumbs together, you’ll form the gesture that rabbis make while giving the Priestly Blessing. Who would have thought that, in a galaxy far-far away, William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy would be Jews, copping the Priestly Blessing, down to the hand sign? I’m sure many a Jewish geeky pre-teen giggled at the Semitic space reference back in the 60’s!
What I find most interesting is the idea of “putting G_d’s Name on the Israelites”. In ancient Near Eastern culture, the family was everything. When people had children, the boys were celebrated over girls. I’m not saying that’s the way it should be. It’s just that it was very important to have boys, because boys carried-on the family name.
The Third Commandment is: To not take the L_rd’s Name in vain.
Almost every time I have heard the third Commandment taught from a pulpit, it has been explained as a command against cursing or swearing. While it is never a good idea to use dirty language, or invoke the L_rd’s name in some demeaning manner, I’m not sure that’s exactly what the Third Commandment is about.
The Third Commandment literally translates: Do not receive the L_rd’s Name in vain.”
When we see the Priestly Blessing in light of the 3rd Commandment, we understand the importance of honoring and respecting the fact that the L_rd was transferring His Name to the people. The people who accepted the blessing were literally receiving God’s Name and committing to be His inheritance. Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) understand the concept of being adopted, or co-inheritors with Messiah (Romans 8:17). It is another way that we can comprehend the vast richness of blessing, bestowed to those to whom God gives His Name.
Let’s not receive it in vain.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, May 13, 2014