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December 26, 2020 1:00 pm
You pick up your Bible. Is there more here than meets the is there something here for me. I mean it's just words printed on paper right may look like just print on a page, but it's more than eight. Join us for the next half hour, as we explore God's word together as we learn how to explore it on our own. As we ask God to meet us there in its pages welcome to more than you think. What does that mean anyway. God bless you have any real importance in our lives are just happy to say let's find a blessing today after saying today kicking back and resting in a slower pace and this ceased without slower pace in mind, here we are sitting on the kitchen table their coffees and know we'll talk about something a little bit slower than the effectiveness of Christmas. It's been a very different kind of Christmas season hasn't unilateral social events that we been accustomed to having happened and perhaps you didn't even meet with your family yesterday or today for me and so it's that it's been a season of contemplation. For me personally, so working turn her attention today to something that maybe you haven't thought about much, but that is the blessing the season of God's favor that comes to us in Christ, and it seems that this is a good thing to kind of a wrap up 20/20 in turn forwarded to 2021.
With this passage sort of Christmas. Well, actually we sort of well well want to take us from Christmas to where were going well and before I do that I I am sure that many of you have heard that song I just swept the Internet in the middle of the year called the blessing based on this number six passage. The Lord bless you and keep you and I think the reason that thing lit fire the way it did is because we just had this sense of needing to know God was seeing yeah and so since we are we are still you know your Christmas tree is still up in your lights are probably still lit you're still cleaning up the debris. If you are a giftgiving family.
I want to start this morning with with the Angels message to shepherds were never weeks when the angels appeared, they send to the shepherds glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men your translation probably says with him. He is pleased but it really says peace among men on whom his favor rests. God has given something that has said he is favorably disposed toward humankind that the same thing he said to Mary right, you found favor favor with God. I am disposed favorably talk. Not a word we use in that context you talk about favorite given someone write your gifts, then you're in good favor right well a broader pure sense.
This is in the context of the best gift of all. Right when Jesus opened his ministry and in both Mark and Luke talk about this when Jesus was in Nazareth and the first time he opened the scroll in public to read. He read from Isaiah 1 which says the spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he's anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
So Jesus is saying God the father has sent me to make his favor toward you know what a good deal that is to be in God's favor is good favor.
Yes I know this amount is six, the season of the Lord's favor.
So no, that's where we want to start today with understanding that we in Christ are living in the favor of God.
He has opened this whole new season when he's given himself to us and so that's going to pull us from Christmas. Into this this blessing from way back in Numbers six, which I'm sure you know what numbers you know I was reading numbers this weekend and this blessing kind of feels out of place in numbers, numbers, and very much is because numbers is what is called numbers to start reading numbers all the doings count prepare counting people and their rating services and just recently gotten out of Egypt during the sign either. Not even in land next to the sign are just sort themselves out regularly and in the sorting up. You have to find people there are right need to figure out how the tabernacle with the Levites so there in the midst of religious or to get her act together. So, numbers numbers is all about, forming how to live life from day to day. Now that were out here in the desert out of Egypt and whose responsibilities. Bob already said to them back in Exodus and Leviticus.
Listen, I'm your God, your my people be known by my name and him to dwell in your midst, and so this blessing comes as he gives it to Aaron, who is the high priest to his representative. Essentially, along with Moses, God's mouthpiece and he mediates the covenant between the people and so in the midst of five previous chapters almost 5 and half of housekeeping, sense, housekeeping of living in the desert were going skiing this this little thing pops in to encourage them.
So let's read the blessing and you are poor listening listen for what's repeated here because there are some repeated ideas and those that's a good study skills, listen for what's repeated so beginning in Numbers 622 then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying speak to Aaron and his sons, so that means this is in perpetuity.
This is a continual blessing on just Aaron but on and on.
Thus, you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them, the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace. And so they Aaron and his sons shall invoke my name on the sons of Israel and then I will bless how nice you know, that begs the question what is a blessing we just mean that's pretty words to make you feel better, but biblically that is not what a blessing is it is the speaking of God's word is God's intent intent to communicate his good heart. His goodwill for us. He speaks peace and truth from an eternal point of view from an eternal perspective. So yeah, and in fact I was like, bless because not only is speaking his heart intent to us, but in the way it sums like a promise promising. I am seeking for your good and I'm blessing by telling you this is what I'm all about telling you my heart, so about so in a way it's kind of a preview of what God is going to do based on his words to us to blessing so Leviticus 26 he had already said to them, listen, I my soul will not reject you. I want to dwell in your midst and be among you, so this is a statement of what that means for them in a very practical sense yeah and you know it's going to be extraordinarily practical in the next couple chapters because because it going to be meeting up with some really difficult after the leap sign grumblings going to be bad guys. I mean there's going be a lot of stuff is going to make them question will is God really out for good, or actually quoting what they say little bit later. Or did he just bring his dog right right so this blessing is a really big deal because it through thick and remind themselves that know God is on your side and he is intent on bringing you good. Yeah, keep this in your head despite what's going to happen despite how you're tempted to think out actually evil and had been very long since God had revealed himself by this name to Moses else, just before Moses went back to to Egypt to proclaim let my people go, let my son go to Pharaoh in the time I hear were it says that were just barely into the second year after leaving Egypt. So things are very fresh in everyone's memory is of the parties signed their still not cool is this God and what is it going to spring us Egypt, but now what's life like now the one that doesn't only thing we have on our site is God just said so if Jesus our Savior.
We just celebrate his birth came to set freedom set free the captives and came to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor this season of God's favor, then you know at this time a year. We should be contemplating what is that mean that I have entered the season of God's favor living in the day when God's attitude towards me in Christ is favorable, we just been you know one through 2020 and in about a week or so will hit New Year's eve free from 20 20 x 20 21 promises is going much better.
The counter bought the big deal is. God has shown his favor toward us and is not so high priest who we know from the New Testament is Jesus speaks to us the words of God. Now, what did you hear repeated when I read that these three giant statements and they each begin with the Lord will if you are looking at your text. The Lord Lord L ORD is all in capital letters and that tells you for that is the proper name of God as Yahweh or Jehovah, as we say it in English meaning the IAM present one really not that nothing impersonal God but the present personal right is the source of all being is what you yeah so this is this that you want to step through the verses and yeah let's do that is are some real jewels and all of this, which are not apparent just read it in English, some great stuff starts off nicely. So with the Lord, well God yes and and kind of where I'm coming at this firm is to point out how all of this blessing points to Jesus. I am in the flesh, the one word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory. John says so at the Lord Yahweh. The IM bless you and keep you writing so he blesses you what is a blessing when I talk about that a little bit but keeping is a glorious word. This is all over the Old Testament to keep an you know when we run across that word applied to us were told keep his covenant keep his commandments, but but it's the Hebrew word Shemar which God keeps here and so it's primary first primary meaning is always to obey its to God heart guard put a hedge of washing keep as precious so the Lord, the I am with you blesses you he stoops to bring favor to you and he is keeping you he's preserving you is precious.
He has his eye on you.
He told me Leviticus heat you are my precious own possession makes me think out from over the rings. My precious my precious seeing scenes were he's actually just got this ring in his hands and knees treasuring and holding is keeping this word asked what that he's been so is not actually obeying the ring is keeping the ring because it's so precious because as precious as watching over the perfect application was talking about here. The Lord is intent on blessing bring good to you and guess what, when it comes to you. He is keeping you.
He's got you like that in the palm of his aunties is your mind, letting go, yes. So if you had that coming through 2020 that deep sense that the I am the ever present eternal one is with you and keeping you as precious and he has a benevolent intention toward you, then this can be a good turning place for you as you kind of bring closure to 20/20 and look forward to 2021 the Lord blesses you and the words also used when you talk about guarding a prison guard and watch it closely, you know and and the they make sure that outside impulses can influence what's going on so so God in a real sense to is also one is not only holding in the poem seems like a treasure, but he's also guarding you to make sure that outside influences don't change that and keeping. If you are a zookeeper, what are you doing your caring for the animals you are feeding them and watching over them.
So does this out of love for us. You and keeping yet is a great promise going into an unknown year from crazier okay and the next big statement, the Lord play the I am the eternal one, makes his face shine on you. Okay, what's with this guy is what's with the shining face. Well, Paul tells us in second Corinthians 4 that the glory of God is seen in the face of Christ.
You can you can track that down a second content for. I'm thinking it's around six or seven the glory of God is seen in the face of Christ talks about God, who said light shall shine of darkness is the one who shone in our hearts to give the light glory of God in the face of Christ. So God's shining face is shown fully to us in Christ. So, just knowing the guns. Well now the light of who he is directed toward us and his and his grace poured out toward us in Christ member John one says in, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory). Yet there's another aspect of this, to which we lose because were not will have kings but you know so you say you're out there you know in the burbs just grown your corn and you get the some of the says that the king wants to face you okay that comes up. Actually, the next verse, but you know the king wants to face you. So the whole idea is being brought into his presence and is and is in your face-to-face and that kind of metaphor is the log Scriptures dumping face-to-face with God. Many time to come talk about judgment me are you ready to meet him face-to-face face-to-face on nothing between you just write right so here it carries a little bit of that in this opening mention of this face but it really means being in no full exposure to who God is.
You are the shining face right Linda Jesus's face shine well on the Mount of Transfiguration.
The conference tell us that his face shown what we also know that Moses his face. Also shown that after he had been in the face-to-face presence with God's at this there's this idea of the of the glory of God being reflected in the face of the one who communicates him yet but now it's apply that what is it mean for right now that we can live in the presence of the face of God shining on well that the text says the Lord make his face shine on you and is gracious to you, so that shining of the face has to do with his light pouring out and as he pours out his grace to us in Christ. Paul says that indescribable gift, and John one here. I just had open says again. Four of his fullness. John 116 of his fullness we have all received grace upon grace just pouring out of his own goodness, not anything we could earn or merit or deserve. Yes.
So what I really love about this verse is that God is the one who's taking the initiative to come near to you so that you will be in full full exposure to who you face.
He is taking that initiative to be in your face with his face, and in doing so, and that that process from coming to you in revealing himself do this. The shining part right now is like when the sun this is use of the sun rising to the sun didn't night Enterprises remember that talked about a crisis comments it rises on this since this is all God taking the initiative to come into your presence and will be in Joe's presence and will be face-to-face and the purpose of this face-to-face shining upon us his grace and beautiful picture actually of the sun coming over the mountain and the light striking you in the face.
You feel the warmth of it.
There's a very tactile sense. Yeah.
So in reality here in the history of the position here Moses is telling Aaron to tell the people look where were going off, and of the unknown for your concern, but I am asking that God will reveal himself in a personal face-to-face unencumbered. Nothing between you style so that he can demonstrate his grace well and the priest Aaron is not asking this, he's just telling you this is the condition of God toward his face is toward you. His son shine the light of his presence is toward you and he will pour out his grace and this is in contradiction to the ancient pagan ideas of God is distant and unravel. This is exactly the opposite.
This is near and very involved for good okay will that takes us into the next verse, the Lord Yahweh, the I am the one is with you lifts up his countenance on you and establishes you in peace so that here's this idea of of the near presents the near face-to-face nests of this one showing you favor so is this work. Countenance is the same word as faith okay, but this is a tent to lift up your countenance on somebody means to to to look on them with favor but to draw them nearer into a eyeball to eyeball yeah because his encounter this word.
This word lifted when I went to fewer member Hebrew because it's the word NASA used to work for NASA but it's so is to lift up close like rockets lift all right, but it's, it's more interesting than just lifting up but but there's places were basically someone when acknowledge someone else they lift up their eyes into the same word right so there's little bit of acknowledgment here and honor in ways so when this guide comes near. He lifts up his eyes toward us. This is what is doing is lifting up his face lifting up his face toward us, inviting us into relationship with him, which is why when Paul says we see the glory of God face of Christ. Remember Jesus said to the disciples on last night. Philip said, Lord, show us the father will be happy you got yet if you see me you seen the father looked in the face of God. You've seen me and this is what God's intentions is to raise up his face toward actually, that that preposition at the end of the sentence is really important when this is on on you that home is a real long units like yes I member looking this up a long time ago and realizing that when you look at the story of Jacob and is often laden Syrian is with Rachel and Leah as they get ready to leave the uses this word on to talk about getting his wives and children onto the dogs citizen. This is actually a lift up to place on to play so his intimate presence his face.
He is lifting up his lifting his eyes towards so he can place it on. Well that's and that's what makes the second half of this and so beautifully says and give you peace your translation says, but what that give you means to establishes literally to put something somewhere. This God lift up his countenance upon you and places you into peace. Show shalom not just the absence of hostility, but the residence of deep well-being and satisfaction. Broad interests. Long-term immunity includes lack of hostilities. For one, but that's the starter it's about wholeness and wellness, and completeness or welfare or prosperity your contentment. All these things basically you want to talk about living a whole and full life that switchable so when Jesus say that peace I sent. I I give you peace of the world can't take away.
I give you peace that you can have in the face of tribulation. I will establish peace for you. Ephesians to jump there for a minute because this is such a beautiful statement, Paul says he himself is our peace now and starting in verse two of Ephesians Ephesians 2 (verse 13 but now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for he himself is our peace because you been brought near we've been brought me. That's what this crisis is the shining upon right and Romans 51 says we peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ right so the piece that were talking about is peace with God, which then will yield in us through his Holy Spirit peace with humankind. We all love at Christmas time to hear that all the song of the angel of peace write his gospel is peace from songs that we sing, but his gospel is peace with God. With God, which then will yield peace with other human beings is God's intention to establish us and stand us rude ass in that deep well-being that shalom that only comes in right relationship with you can probably say biblically speaking, there is no shalom apart from that's correct so many times people think will just show me a God who will just dump a truckload of shalom in my life and move on. But the idea is that is being in the nearness of God is exactly what results in which it is not separate from the effects in our lives but but that's what he does like when Jesus talks about the good and bad Shepherd. He says you know the bad Shepherd come to steal, kill, and stroke.
The good Shepherd comes to bring life and bring abundantly. That's with the shalom word is its abundant life that comes in relationship with God, with the one who lifts his face upon us to great picture and he's done for us in Jesus, the one whose birth we just celebrated so you know, this blessing was given to Aaron as as the representative, the high priest, but in perpetuity through all of his sons and we know that that high priesthood was fulfilled in Christ and the Hebrews unpacks rest so beautifully. He is the better priest. He administers a better covenant based on better promises because he always lives to intercede for us. So if you take your book of Hebrews and you can just do this by thumbing through and watch for all the places that the writer of Hebrews says with Jesus is our high priest is present better one. And here's what happened until it really helps us redefine when someone says the trite phrase, Prince of peace right shalom that that doesn't just mean mindless and numbed out living means fullness of life and he is the one who establishes it prints he's usually has authority over it so he says that the piece that I give you the world can't take away will. That's a good segue next week because, well, I should mention this to complete and 27 says you shall invoke my name. It's all these things about the nearness of God in invoking his name important, identify them as my people known as the people of God in some reminder of who he is and so next week, will look at a couple of guys who have forgotten God was walking in the despair and figured that maybe God had forgotten or messed up something in the plan for this fullness of life and what they expected to happen didn't happen. It did not happen. We had hoped. I always quote that phrase as we have Zora look at these two guys were walking away from Jerusalem. Dejected after the death of Jesus in three days have transpired. And Jesus has not shown up in their dejected so maybe if you're walking out of 2020 dejected when you did. But it didn't happen and you wonder if it ever will happen.
Wonder whether God will be the Prince of peace in your life you might be overwhelmed by your thoughts on the circumstances and forget about the fact you do invoke the name of God like supposed people of Israel. Some things get tough. God is member what God said. Maybe the hopeful thing to talk about so so look at Luke 2424 so sweet, so Jim just don't like you been with us in 2021 so I