“May the LORD smile on you…”
The smile of a toddler when they see their mom has arrived to pick them up. The smile of friends when seeing each other for the first time in years. The heart of a parent glowing on the face when their son or daughter has returned safely and willingly wants to spend time with them.
The darkest of rooms in the middle of the night void of electronic illumination of any kind and the light switch is found. The blackest of night miles away from the city, not a star or the moon can be seen, and the headlights light up the road like a spotlight on a stage. The hardest of hearts with tall thick walls built to keep out the ones who care and the crack is found where the Savior searched to shine His love.
These moments of genuine smiles and the contrast of dark to light scenarios pale compared to the image of what it is like to have the God of the universe smile towards us.
In Numbers, a book in the Bible known for its statistics and instructions, we find God giving directions to the priests on how to bless the Israelites.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26, NRSV
God gave them a blessing that reflected His heart. God invited the priest to invoke Him to pour out His protection, His love, and His grace upon the people. God wanted to be asked to lift up His face towards the people and give them peace.
The Hebrew word for “shine” is “or.” Unlike the English definition for “or” representing a choice, the Hebrew meaning is to make literally and metaphorically brilliant, glow, shine, and like the break of day. Most translations use the word “shine,” but a couple of them use the word “smile.”
“May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.” (Numbers 6:25, NLT)
Take a moment and get lost in the idea of a child’s critical emergency style need in approaching the focused parent, who lifts up their head and smiles beaming with love towards their son or daughter hiding any annoyance, this barely touches the unimaginable possibilities on God’s lifting up His face and smiling towards us.
God does not need to mask annoyance because He is void of any ability to be annoyed. Here is where we need to get lost to become overwhelmed by God’s ability to purely desire and act on His love towards us. When He lifts up His head and looks in our direction, His divine love for us lights up His face. He beams, shines, glows in the most unimaginable smile reflecting His unfathomable love for us.
Before we allow pride to trickle in and claim actions that would evoke a smile from God, we need to remember we have done nothing.
“You who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” Colossians 1:21-22, NLT
Almighty God took unthinkable actions for us, to not only believe He loves us enough to smile towards us in a God-style way, but Christ made it possible for us stand before Almighty God blameless without a single fault, not one flaw.
If only we would slow down long enough to rest in God’s presence where He does not see all we have done wrong, but because of Christ, He only sees the incredible individual He has created us to be.
If only we would quiet the hush within our minds to bask in the smile of God shining down on us warmer than the sun touching our skin on the loveliest of days.
If only we would stop to be still long enough to soak in His love, His protection, His grace, and His peace to the point where our actions reflected His love towards ourselves and others.
I wonder what would happen if we took in God’s smile towards us and carried that in our hearts, remembering it as we go about our day. What type of difference would it make in our life, in our world?
Would you set aside time today or this week to slow down and be still, hush the chatter of your mind, and reflect over and over in a posture of having received this blessing of God smiling towards you? A smile that represents His deep love for us.
Our hope comes from God’s love for us.
The LORD blesses me and protects me; the LORD smiles towards me and is gracious to me; the LORD looks on me with favor and gives me peace. Numbers 6:24-26 (inspired by NLT and GNT and written from a personal perspective)
Meditation: God smiles on me
Reflect: Explore any possibilities that may block you from receiving and believing the priestly blessing. Ask God to heal those places and move you towards a position of receiving and believing. How do you respond to the idea of God smiling at you?
Digging Deeper: Psalm 67, Psalm 80, 2 Corinthians 3:4-18
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(Bible References: NRSV – New Revised Standard Version, NLT – New Living Translation, GNT – Good News Translation)