“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, on this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face to shine unto thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

Even the fact that we have here the glorious name of Jehovah mentioned three times in this blessing is proof that we listen to the blessing of the triune God. But this is still clearer in the threefold operation of the blessing: the keeping Father, the gracious Son and the peace-bringing Holy Spirit.

Oh, yes, it is the blessing of triune covenant Jehovah which is given unto God’s people.

That blessing is upon His people now; it shall be on them forevermore.

Let us meditate on this wonderful blessing of Jehovah.

It is the blessing of the Father.

And He is the fountain, the source, the cause of all things.

It is thus even in the Godhead. He is the Father of His eternal Son. He is the great cause of the Son’s eternal generation. And from Him the Holy Spirit is forever spirited.

And thus it is with all things that are created and that will be re-created.

He is the cause of creation. In Him is the eternal power of sustenance. He is that eternal agent of guidance and the steering power of all things that move and have their being.

Hence, the Father is the Lord and as Father He is the fountain of all blessing: “The Lord bless thee!”

And the eternal Son, co-equal with the eternal Father blesses His Israel: “make His face to shine upon thee!”

The face of Jehovah is the Son, is the revelation of God. And also here, He is the revelation of God both in creation and in re-creation. The eternal Godhead is revealing the excellence of His virtues in the Son, who is the express image of the Father. Heb. 1:3.

All the beauty of the Godhead is shown in the Son, and through the Son. Thus it has been and thus it shall be unto all eternity. Such is the order in the Godhead.

And the Holy Spirit of Jehovah blesses thee!

For He lifts up that countenance of Jehovah, that is the Son, and He places Him upon thee.

That work is, peculiar to the Holy Spirit. It was thus in creation. It is thus in re-creation. Listen to Jesus the face of Jehovah: “He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:14.

The Holy Spirit brooded upon the face of the deep so that the beauty of God which shone in His face might be manifested to all that received power to see and to hear of created things. And that same Holy Spirit, but now as the Spirit of Christ, broods upon the works of Jehovah in Christ, and has shown and will show these beauties to the church unto all eternity.

He places that countenance of God upon you.

And through and in that Holy Spirit the blessing of Jehovah God is fulfilled.

And so we hear of a threefold blessing, but there is an essential unity in them. We hear of three blessings, but the unity is in the one name which is placed upon the happy people of Israel.

We hear of three blessings, but three times it is the one name: The Lord!

I may not even say that in each of the three blessings one of the glorious divine persons is coming to the foreground, for the work of blessing is one marvelous work, in which all three Persons are energetically operative.

Let us rather say: Jehovah God is blessing His people, and this blessing is from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

Let us now look a little closer at this threefold blessing and see its wondrous operation.

Father blesses you.

What is the meaning of this? What does it mean that Jehovah blesses you?

To bless is literally to speak a beautiful word. You have a word for it in your American tongue: eulogy. And a eulogy is literally a beautiful word.

God spoke a beautiful Word at the very beginning, and the kosmos appeared. Creation is the speaking of a beautiful word. God said! And the speaking God is the creating God. When God ceased speaking the whole of a most marvelous creation stood before Him. And looking at the result of His blessed speaking, He said: and behold, it is very good!

And what does that mean?

If I may borrow a word that came from God through Jeremiah, I would answer your question this way: God loved you with an everlasting love, and it was His determined purpose to be very good to you. He would move heaven and earth unto your eternal welfare. Yes, and He would move hell also so that you might forever lie in His bosom and be inexpressibly happy for evermore.

And so He started to work in order to bring His eternal thoughts of peace for you unto fruition: He began to create. Creation, the blessed work of God, was for you. God engaged in creation with the view to your eternal welfare. And when God saw the first kosmos, and when He pronounced it very good, he had in mind your blessedness, your blessed estate for time and for eternity. When God said: Behold, it is very good! He saw that this first earth was good unto the preparation of much greater blessings than were heaped up in that first universe. It could serve most wondrously unto the coming of a better kosmos. Through the dark way of the fall because of sin, and the elevation from untold depths of misery unto the heights of glory He would bless you as never before. The first creation could admirably serve such exalted purposes such as God harbored in His counsel for you and for all Israel.

Oh yes, God blesses Israel. And shall bless Israel forevermore.

The Father will tell you every day: The Lord bless thee!

And that blessed operation of blessing is through the Son.

For: He makes His face to shine upon thee!

If you would know the heart of Jehovah you must look strongly upon His Son, upon His face.

You find a weak picture of that in the life of man. If you would know a man you must look upon his face. You study the face of man, and in the measure that you hunger to know a man you look upon his countenance. And that is a weak shadow of how things are with the Godhead.

God shows Himself in the Son. How God is and what He is is shown conclusively in the, second person of the Holy Trinity.

Thus it is in creation. God spoke a Word which came from His wonderfully wise heart: and creation appeared. Creation is the reflection of God’s wisdom.

And O, how that beauteous wisdom of God shines upon the man of His good-pleasure. When that man looks about him by day, he exclaims: the heavens declare the glory of my God.

I can see how Adam and Eve stood in the midst of the light of God’s countenance and exclaimed continuously: O our God, how marvelous art Thou in beauty, wisdom and power!

Later we hear these words by an inspired prophet, but his voice broke: he was a sinner.

And if this speech of God’s blessing in creation is most wonderful, what shall we say of the face of God which we begin to see in the re-creation of all things? Words fail me.

Let us at once go to the very heart of that speech of God. Go to the little hill outside of the city of the Lord, Jerusalem.

And in the darkness of great agony we hear a shout of the Son of God: Why, O why hast thou forsaken me?

There is a beauty of the Godhead which we cannot fathom. There is a blessing of Jehovah that shall make your heart sing forevermore. It is the speech of the love of God for you who should be forsaken unto all eternity. Instead, He forsakes His beloved Son. God wants to show you, He desires to manifest to you how beautiful He is in His love.

The face of God He will make to shine upon you. That is what the text says. Do you see it? Do you see the rays of light which the cross of Jesus emits? Do you see the oceans of the light of God’s love that bathe you in cherishing warmth and attractive sympathy of loving-kindness?

See it and you will dry all your tears.

See it and you will listen to Isaiah’s admonition: Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee!

Yes, the face of God blesses you in its wonderful shining light!

It is the light of God’s forgiving love.

And the operation of Jehovah’s blessing in the Holy Spirit brings this blessing very near to you.

For He takes that blessed and radiant face of God and brings it in your heart.

You see “The Lord lifts up His countenance upon thee!”

Allow me to speak as a child speaks: God takes Jesus and all His blessings and places that blessed Jesus in your heart. It is the application of God’s salvation. Theologians tell us that we are justified by faith. Well, I have heard of it from my earliest infancy. It is one of the jewels of Reformed doctrine.

Let us speak of this jewel in connection with my text. The trouble with unhappy Israel and miserable Zion is this: he is not righteous before God. He has deserved to be an eternal companion of devils and all kinds of wicked men.

But Israel is a happy people for they are the objects of Jehovah’s blessings. And in this connection that means that God’s face is taken by the Holy Spirit and it is placed in their heart. And the face of Jesus, is Jesus, and He bears the name: The Lord our righteousness! And when you have “the Lord, our righteousness” in your heart, you are the object of the smile of God’s approval. When the robes of Jesus’ righteousness enfold you, you are welcome in God’s heaven, and you may stay there forever.

And by faith you taste such an estate even now, before you breathe your last.

And so we see Israel blessed by Jehovah God.

No wonder Moses exclaimed at the hour of his death: Happy art thou, O Israel.

And what is the result of all such blessing?

First, you are kept by the Father.

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.

To be kept by Jehovah means that His arms are around you so that nothing can harm you, on the one hand, and on the other, you experience that which is above all things to be desired, namely, you experience the fellowship of the Triune God.

We keep that which we consider precious.

You are precious in the sight of God. You are His heritage. No wonder Isaiah said a while ago: Cry out and shout, O thou inhabitant of Zion!

Must you have proof of these loving arms of God that always bless Israel? Listen again to the dying Moses: “and underneath are the everlasting arms!”

Think of that when the devil tempts you, when the world hates you, when your flesh is an ever present burden. Think on that when it seems as though all things are against you. Think on the fruit of the Father’s blessing, and . . . smile through your tears.

And you will begin to stammer: it is well, it is well, with my soul.

I do not wonder at the poet who gave us the wonderful line: “Safe in the arms of Jesus!”

The first link in eternal blessings sings to us of a love which the Bible compares to a mother who holds her infant in arms of loving compassion. And if they would forget, God tells you: I will never forsake thee!

And the Son? He blesses you and says: I will be gracious unto thee! Grace is beauty, the beauty of the Godhead. Look upon creation, and you will see the grace and the beauty of God.

But its beauty is marred, more than man can utter.

Look upon the chosen saint in Christ, and you will sing with the psalmist of the beauty of the dove who is decked with silver and gold. The sun’s golden rays are upon the dove which glistens with beauty such as Hermon never gave.

The effect of the blessings of Jesus are that instead of an ugly, filthy sinner, you become a beautiful saint. You will be more beautiful than the angels of God, and they surely are beautiful. You will be so beautiful that you will be like the face of God, and that is Jesus. We shall be like Him. He is called our elder brother.

And He is beautiful for He Is the express image of the Father, full of grace and truth. And according to the measure of the creature you shall be as beautiful as God is. And so you begin to see the reason why God calls you His children. The child is like the Father. Hallelujah.

The Son’s blessing has the effect to make you gloriously beautiful.

And the Holy Spirit? He gives you peace.

Words fail me again and again when I talk of divine things. What, O what shall I say of peace.

I will not reason with you, dear reader. Neither will I be unreasonable. Let us both listen to the Holy Scriptures.

Some of these things I feel rather than understand.

Your peace, the peace as effect of blessing, shall be as a river, says the Bible. I have heard the sweet murmurings of a river, sitting at her banks. And I distinctly remember how I thought on these things.

It was an earthly picture of heavenly things.

And so I was silent. I am silent now.