Sunday morning as we sang, “The Blessing” by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes I was reminded of the benediction we said every night after MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). The blessing comes from Numbers 6: 24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” We sang these words this morning with another verse, “May His favor be upon you and a thousand generations Your family and your children and their children and their children.” I cannot think of a better blessing for graduation Sunday!
“The Lord bless you” is so intimate. The Lord bless “ME”. We have been so blessed through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1: 2, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Think of our spiritual blessings we have been given; forgiveness, joy, peace, love, eternal life and no more death. Luke 7: 48, “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” John 15: 11, “ I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 14; 27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 15: 9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” 1 John 5: 12, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Revelation 21: 4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
“The Lord keep you”. I have never broken this down and thought about this. We have a 24/7 guard. The Lord is our Keeper. He keeps us safe. John 17: 12, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” He not only watches over us but He helps us keep from sin. 1 Peter 1: 3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” He keeps us from stumbling. Jude 24, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—” He keeps us on the right track until He takes us home. Psalm 73: 24, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
“Make His face to shine upon you...” God is smiling down on us showing us His favour. Even though we sin, He loves us! Jeremiah 31: 3, “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’” Through our relationship with Him we can reflect His love. Exodus 34: 29, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.” This should be true of all who love the Lord. Psalm 90: 17, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”
“And be gracious to you...” God’s grace is His unmerited favour towards us even though we do not deserve anything at all from Him.
“the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” His plan for us is the best! Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” His gracious provision for us is that we have everything we need! 2 Peter 1: 3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” And He gives us peace. Philippians 4: 7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Graduates, remember, God will bless you, He will keep you, He will be gracious to you and give you peace. This is our prayer for you!