I heard about a little girl who proudly announced to her mom that she was going to draw a picture of God. As she grabbed her crayons and a piece of paper, her mom said, “Honey, no one knows what God looks like.”
The girl replied, “They will when I’m done!”
But what is God like? Is God a smiling God or a frowning one? Does He look at us with approval or disapproval?
Because the Bible often refers to God as our Father, we can respond to that in different ways, depending on what kind of father we had when we were growing up.
But regardless of whether our earthly fathers did a good job or a bad job, we need to look at God in an entirely different way. We must look at Him in the pages of Scripture, where He reveals himself.
In the Old Testament book of Numbers, God describes Himself for us in a blessing that He instructed the priests to pronounce over the people of Israel: “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” (Numbers 6:24–26 NKJV).
The Book of Numbers is a record of the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness. Numbers gives an account of the trials they faced and the mistakes they made as they were journeying to the Promised Land.
We, too, live in a wilderness in a manner of speaking. We’re passing through to another place. We face trials in life, and we make mistakes. We’re fallen people living in a fallen world, and we’re in need of a lot of help.
From this blessing in Numbers 6, we can discover six things about God. We learn how God looks at us, how He feels toward us, and what He wants every believer to know.
“The Lord bless you.” God loves to bless us. Yet what does the word “bless” really mean? We often hear people use it. But really, “bless” is a biblical word. It’s something that only a Christian can fully appreciate and experience.
It’s interesting to note that Jesus both began and concluded His earthly ministry by blessing people. He also said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV). God loves to bless people. It is His joy.
“The Lord . . . keep you.” The Hebrew word used here for “keep” means “to guard, to watch, or to put a hedge around.” God wants us to constantly know that He will keep us. It’s good to have that reassurance in such an uncertain world.
The psalmist wrote, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:2–3 NKJV). God is always watching us. He always has an eye on us. God is protecting us and keeping us.
“The Lord make His face shine upon you.” God smiles on us. That’s what this verse is saying. Now, this isn’t the picture that a lot of people have of God. But the picture of God that the Bible gives us is that of God shining with pleasure toward His people.
When God sees us, His face lights up with joy. I think sometimes we feel that our failures come as a surprise to God, as though He didn’t know we were going to do that. But remember, He loves us, and He smiles on us.
“The Lord . . . be gracious to you.” God is gracious to us. We need to be constantly reminded that God has extended His grace toward us. And grace is a word that is very important for us to understand. We see it many times in the Bible, especially in the New Testament.
Grace has been defined as “God’s unmerited favor.” But I think one of the best ways to define grace is by contrasting it with other words like justice and mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve, while mercy is not getting what we deserve. And grace is getting what we don’t deserve.
We need God’s grace on a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment basis, because we sin every day.
“The Lord lift up His countenance upon you.” The phrase “lift up his countenance” means “to look, to see, to know, to be interested in, to have one’s full attention.” God is saying, “I watch you every day. You have my full attention.”
Have you ever poured your heart out to someone, and it seemed as though they weren’t even listening? Maybe you were speaking to someone, and they looked past you while you were talking. Or worse yet, they took a phone call: “Wait one second. . . . Hello? . . . Yeah, how are you doing? . . . Oh, I’m not doing anything.”
God isn’t that way. He’s interested. He cares. Of course, there might be times in your life when you’ve wondered whether God really was attentive to you. While it’s true that life is a wonderful adventure when you’re walking with Christ, it’s also true that you’re going to have adversity. You’re going to have hardship. But you’ll never walk through any of those things alone. God will be with you.
“The Lord . . . give you peace.” As we consider all these things, it should change our outlook. No matter what we’re going through, we can have peace because we know the Lord is blessing us. He’s keeping us. He’s smiling on us. And He’s extending his grace to us and paying attention to us. And that should bring peace to our hearts.
However, this is something that only the child of God can experience. Jesus, for all practical purposes, was cursed so that we could be blessed. He died so we could live. He was forsaken so that we could be forgiven.
God said to the Israelites in the wilderness, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).
You have a choice. Choose to be blessed.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
This article was originally published at WND.com.
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