The Aaronic blessing found in Numbers 6:24–26 reads, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” It’s important to note that the LORD is the subject of all the verbs in this blessing. He is the One whose presence blesses, guards, gives grace, gives joy and assurance, and supplies wholeness (cf. Gen. 1:28; 12:1–3; Lev. 9:22; Deut. 28–30; Ps. 4; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19; 119:35; 121:3–8; Dan. 9:17). Historically, it is reported that the priests would make the shape of the Hebrew letter “shin” (ש) when they would pronounce this blessing over the people following the atonement. This same letter is the first letter of the Hebrew words Shaddai (Almighty), Shekinah (Glory), and Shalom (Peace). The priests would make the shape of the letter with both hands—thumbs and index fingers touching—making a window through which the glory of the Almighty might pass and bring peace upon his people. The Lord who rescued Israel from Egypt gave this blessing to Moses and Aaron to speak over the people, so that his name and reputation might bring blessing to the people of Israel. In pop-culture, you may remember a particular Vulcan character from Star Trek who made the “shin” hand gesture and said, “Live Long and Prosper!”
In the New Testament, we find all the elements of this blessing—provision of power, protection, grace, joy, assurance, and peace—in the person and work of the incarnate Lord, Jesus Christ. Paul writes, “Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3; cf. 2:14). John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). My hope for your churches, pastors, volunteers, and families during the challenges of this new year is that you experience the Lord’s blessing, so that you may pass on the Lord’s blessing in Christ to those in need around you.