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Verses of Numbers 6

23

Numbers 6:23 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 146
GOD WILL BLESS HIS OWN ORDINANCES

Num 6:23-27. 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 upon 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.

THE exercise of benevolence is that which every child of God should cultivate to the uttermost: but ministers above all should consider it as the distinguishing badge of their office: they are compelled indeed sometimes to “use sharpness;” but whether they rebuke, or whether they exhort, they should be actuated by nothing but a principle of love. Under the law, it was a very important part of the priestly office to bless the people; and God prescribed a form of words to be used by Aaron and his sons in the discharge of that duty [Note: The circumstance of its being a prescribed form of words, did not render it the less efficacious for the people’s good.]: nor can any words better express the scope and end of the Christian ministry. If the people be brought to receive abundant communications of grace and peace, and to surrender up themselves entirely to God, a minister can desire nothing more in this world; his labours are well repaid. To promote this blessed end, we shall,

I.

Explain the words before us—

God is here making known his will to Moses, and directing him what orders to give to Aaron and his sons respecting the execution of their priestly office and there are two duties which he assigns to them;

1.

To bless the people in God’s name—

[This was repeatedly declared to be their office [Note: Deu 21:5.]; and the constant practice of the Apostles shews that it was to be continued under the Christian dispensation. In conformity to their example, the Christian Church has universally retained the custom of closing the service with a pastoral benediction. We are not indeed to suppose that ministers can, by any power or authority of their own, convey a blessing [Note: Act 3:12.]: they can neither select the persons who shall be blessed, nor fix the time, the manner or the degree in which any shall receive a blessing: but, as stewards of the mysteries of God, they dispense the bread of life, assuredly expecting, that their Divine Master will give a salutary effect to the ordinances of his own appointment. The direction in the text was confirmed with an express promise, that what they spake on earth should be ratified in heaven: and every faithful minister may take encouragement from it in the discharge of his own duty, and may consider God as saying to him, Bless thou the congregation, “and I will bless them [Note: To this effect, see Luk 10:5-6 and Joh 20:23.].”]

2.

To claim the people as God’s property—

[To “put the name of God upon them” is, to challenge them as “his portion, the lot of his inheritance [Note: Deu 32:9.].” This every minister must do in most authoritative terms; and not only claim them as his property, but excite them with all earnestness to surrender up themselves to his service. Nor shall their exhortations be lost; for God will accompany them “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;” and the people, constrained by a divine impulse, shall say, “I am the Lord’s [Note: Isa 44:3-5.].” Moreover, in their intercessions for the people, they are also to urge this plea with God on their behalf [Note: Dan 9:17-19; Jer 14:9.]. Thus are they to strengthen the connexion between God and them; and to promote that fellowship with God, which is the end, as well as means, of all spiritual communications.]

Having thus explained the general import of the words, we shall,

II.

Notice some truths contained in them—

Amidst the many profitable observations that may be deduced from the text, there are some deserving of peculiar attention:

1.

The priests under the law, while they blessed the people, typically represented the office of Christ himself—

[Christ as our High-Priest performs every part of the priestly office: and it is remarkable that he was in the very act of blessing his disciples, when he was taken up from them into heaven [Note: Luk 24:50-51.]. Nor did he then cease, but rather began, as it were, to execute that office, which he has been fulfilling from that time to the present hour. St. Peter, preaching afterwards to a vast concourse of people, declared to them, that to bless them was the great end for which Jesus had ascended, and that he was ready, both as a Prince and a Saviour, to give them repentance and remission of sins [Note: Act 3:26; Act 5:31.]. Let us then conceive the Lord Jesus standing now in the midst of us, and, with uplifted hands, pronouncing the benediction in the text; is there one amongst us that would not cordially add, “Amen, Amen?” Nor let this be thought a vain and fanciful idea, since he has promised to be wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, and that too, for the very purpose which is here expressed [Note: Compare Mat 18:20 with Exo 20:24.].]

2.

Though ministers are used as instruments to convey blessings, God himself is the only author and giver of them—

[The very words, which the priests were commanded to use, directed the attention of all to God himself; nor could the frequent repetition of Jehovah’s name fail to impress the most careless auditor with a conviction, that the blessing could come from God alone. Perhaps too the mystery of the Holy Trinity might be intimated in these expressions [Note: See Bishop Patrick on the place.]; since it is certain that we, under the clearer light of the Gospel, are taught to look to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as the distinct, though united, authors of all spiritual good [Note: 2Co 13:14.]. We ought indeed to reverence God’s ministers as the authorized dispensers of his blessings [Note: 1Th 5:13.]; but we must look for the blessings themselves to God alone; and endeavour to exercise faith on the Father as the fountain of them, on Christ as the channel in which they flow, and on the Holy Spirit as the agent, by whose divine energy they are imparted to the soul [Note: Rev 1:4-5.]. At the same time we should remember the obligation which these mercies lay us under to devote ourselves entirely to the service of our gracious and adorable Benefactor.]

3.

However weak the ordinances be in themselves, yet shall they, if attended in faith, be available for our greatest good—

[Nothing can be conceived more simple in itself than a priestly benediction: yet, most undoubtedly, it brought down many blessings upon the people. And can we suppose that God will put less honour upon his ordinances under the Gospel dispensation? Shall not “grace, mercy and peace, flow down from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” in answer to the fervent intercessions of his ministers [Note: 2Ti 1:2. These three words seem to contain all that is implied in the text.]? Though ministers be but earthen vessels, yet shall they impart unto the people the richest treasures [Note: 2Co 4:7.]. Their word shall not be in vain, but shall accomplish God’s good pleasure, and prosper in the thing whereunto he has sent it [Note: Isa 55:10-11.]. Let not then the benediction be so often slighted, as though it were only a signal to depart: but while it is delivered with solemnity in the name of God, let every heart be expanded to receive the benefit. Let every one consider himself in particular as the person addressed [Note: “Thee” was repeated six times, though addressed to the whole congregation, that every person might feel himself as much interested as if he alone were present. See the text.]; and may the experience of all attest at this time, that God is ready to “grant us above all that we can ask or think.”]


Verses of Numbers 6

23

Consult other comments:

Numbers 6:23 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 6:23 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Numbers 6:23 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Numbers 6:23 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 6:23 - Geneva Bible Notes

Numbers 6:23 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Numbers 6:23 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 6:23 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Numbers 6:23 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Numbers 6:23 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Numbers 6:23 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 6:23 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 6:23 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)