Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Blessed and Protected

by Richard Griffiths

22 February 2024

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The Lord bless you and keep you.
Numbers 6:24, NIV

The Aaronic blessing must be one of the oldest prayers in the world. Since about 1500 BC to this day, Jews and Christians have used it, weekly or even more frequently. These are just its opening words – and what words! In the Hebrew it is just three: Yahweh (the Lord) – bless-you – keep-you. But each contains so, so much.

Most English translations of the Old Testament use ‘The Lord’ for ‘Yahweh’. This was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses. It means ‘I am who I am’, or it could be ‘I will be who I will be’, or even, ‘I will be wherever I choose to be’. In other words, God is eternal, all powerful, and everywhere. He is inescapable. He knows us all and He knows all about us all. There is nothing beyond His power. This is the God who wants to bless us.

To bless us! Blessing us means providing us with everything that we need. Yes, it really is everything. It includes material things. But it also includes our spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being, and our relationships. But a life of living in God’s blessing doesn’t necessarily mean an easy life. God’s blessings include discipline.

As I said, blessing us means providing us with everything that we need; and sometimes we do need discipline. God may use things that we find unpleasant to make us more as He wants us to be: ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’ (Hebrews 12:11). Someone once said to me, “God may take us to place where we don’t want to go in order to bring us to a place we’ll never want to leave”. That’s blessing, isn’t it?

And He wants to keep us. It means both to watch over and to preserve. When our children were little, they loved stories about a toy called Teddy Robinson. He wasn’t the most intelligent of bears. He was asked to ‘watch the toast’ in the toaster. He did watch it. He watched it as it turned brown, as it turned black, and as smoke began to rise from the toaster! God watches over us is not just to ‘see what happens’. It’s active – actively taking steps to ensure our safety. It is beautifully summed up is Psalm 121:7-8: ‘The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore’.

Just three words and in them is concentrated the very heart of God for whom nothing is too difficult, nothing too big, too small, or too far away; of God who wants to give us everything that we need, whenever we need it; of God who watches over us, day in, day out, wherever we are, whatever we are doing; of God who loves us with an everlasting love.

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

 

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