Daily Blessings

23”Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, 24The Lord bless you and keep you; 25the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. 27”So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:23-27

During this time of the year we celebrate Thanksgiving. We are urged to remember the goodness of the year and to count our blessings. The Lord instructs Aaron through Moses to pronounce blessing. The first thing to note is that blessing much like grace cannot be earned only received. He begins with a reminder that it is not what we do, but it is the Lord who blesses and keeps us. I am so grateful that it does not all depend on me, that God is in control of all. God is in control of this world and in control even in the mess of life.

The days are also growing shorter. There is less daylight than we have in the other three seasons and in some cases people can develop what some call the ‘winter blues’ because of lack of sunlight. It is so powerful that it can have effects on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. No matter the circumstance the Lord will make his face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. In our darkest physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual days, the Lord makes the radiance of his face to shine upon us. That is truly an act of grace.

In lifting up or turning his face upon us is an act of favor and blessing. It demonstrates that God is aware of all that is going on in our lives. God sees, God knows, and knowing ourselves that the Lord is at work both in the world and in our own lives will give us peace. It is truly a comfort to know that the Lord has is looking favorably in our direction and desiring to bless us.

The blessing is so great that God will place his name upon the people. We not only have a blessing but we carry the name of the Lord as we walk through life. What a blessing to be called his and to be told how he will bless.

Count your blessings? There is not enough time, or hours in the day! Instead be mindful of the blessings we experience daily and remember to give thanks to our gracious, loving, radiant God who turns his face toward us in favor and wants us to have peace.

In Time of Need…The Great High Priest

Hebrews 4:12-16

The word of God is living and active, and knows every inch of our bodies, all our cells, our spirit and souls, thoughts and intentions. Part of the problem with confession is that we believe something can or is hidden from God. Everything is exposed before the creator. We cannot hide from God, and we must all give an account for our actions. A confession is our acknowledgement of what God already knows to be true about us. We pull off the mask and agree with God about who we are and our condition.

The mere thought of us in all our sin standing before a holy God ought to scare us to death, to terrify us, but the evangelist paints a very different picture. He insists “we need to hold fast to our confession,” not because anyone of us is better than the others, but because of the Great High Priest. The Great High Priest passed through the heavens, Jesus, God’s Son. It is only the one with and for whom all is laid bare that we stand before. BUT…He is the Great High Priest, not judge. What difference does that make? What is the function of the High Priest?

Sanctity and Functions.

The distinguished rank of the high priest is apparent from the fact that his sins are regarded as  belonging also to the people (Lev. iv. 3, 22).

The sins of the high priest are regarded as belonging also to the people. SO if the perfect, sinless life of Jesus is the one who is the great high priest there is no adding to the burden of our sin.

On the Day of Atonement he alone entered the Holy of Holies, to make atonement for his house and for the people (Lev. xvi.); He alone could offer the sacrifices for the sins of the priests, or of the people, or of himself (Lev. iv.);

On the Day of Atonement he alone could enter the Holy of Holies, The high priest stood in the most holy place and offered sacrifice for himself and the people. The people themselves didn’t go to this Holiest of places. Only the High Priest and He ALONE could offer sacrifices here. Jesus as the Great High Priest made a perfect and holy sacrifice once and for all for the people, and in giving himself, stands as the great high priest between God and man. At his death is was said that the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the inner court was torn apart from the top to the bottom, Not the bottom to the top as a man would but that it was done so in the death of Christ by God from the top down.   Acknowledging the death of his perfect and sinless son was once and for all, abolishing the need of a Holy Place for a high priest to go to stand before God and offer sacrifices for the people it was paid for in His Ultimate (once and for all sacrifice).

There is even better news, the evangelist tells us. We first have a Great High Priest, a representative that made the great sacrifice on our behalf, and stands before God on our behalf, but He also is able to sympathize with us, and our weaknesses, but instead have one who in every respect has been tempted (as we are), yet he did not sin. He knows and understands our temptations, he understands our weaknesses, he understands our needs, he understands the sin we wish was hidden but made his body the sacrifice for our blackest sin, that we could hold fast to our confession and (Let us) draw near (as if Jesus is putting his arm around us, saying come on I will go with you) with confidence because the throne is the throne of grace. It is only there that we will find mercy, the world is merciless. It is there and only there that we find grace to help in time of need. What help do we need for our weary souls, what sin did Jesus not die for? Can you name me one? Then there is also this function of the High Priest…

He also offered a meal, offering every morning and evening for himself and the whole body of the priesthood (Lev. vi. 14-15, though the wording of the law is not altogether definite).

Jesus too offered a meal given for the whole body, and we are here to share that today as a reminder of where our help comes from. That we have a Great High Priest who is sympathetic and who made the sacrifice that we do not have to and we are reminded that he is the one who offers the meal and himself to us.   Would we come to the throne of grace?