Journeying through the wilderness is never easy. It takes a lot out of you. When you’re on a journey through the wilderness there is often no place to really call home. Whatever there was, is no more because you’ve left it behind, and whatever is ahead, you have yet to experience. You feel displaced. You tend to feel disconnected from the world around you. (Sometimes that’s why God leads us on a wilderness journey – to disconnect us from those things that would otherwise distract us from Him and what He wants to teach us.) But even knowing that, there can be a disquieting in your spirit.
When i first wrote a portion of this post, my family and i were nearing the end of the fourth month of a similar journey. At the time it seemed like an eternity. We have been on other journeys since that have lasted much longer. Though we counted the time as precious and were thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness, we were ready for our journey to be over! We never expected the journey to take as long as it did. We expected to arrive in our Land of God’s Promise much sooner. We hungered to put down roots in the new land God had planned for us. As grateful as we were for God’s provision and His protection, we were ready for the journey to be over. We were ready to share the testimony of what God had done through the journey, instead of what He was doing.
The Israelites were one year into their journey through the wilderness when we come to a blessing they received from God through Aaron as recorded in Numbers 6:22-27. Though throughout their journey they had experienced God’s provision and protection, they were well past ready for the journey to be over. They were ready for a blessing. And what a blessing it was!
May the Lord bless you and protect you. We are admonished by the psalmist to bless God. “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2 NKJ). We are to acknowledge Him for Who He is and thank Him for all that He has done. We are to bless one another, expressing our wishes for God’s blessing on one another’s behalf. But when God blesses us, that is wholly another matter!
We hope that when we give a blessing to someone it will come to fruition. But we can be certain that when God blesses us, He will move heaven and earth to bring it about. What He wills, He does; and what He does, He completes. As the sovereign and almighty God, when God blesses us He does so with His best for us in mind. As the omnipresent and omniscient God, when He blesses us He does so in ways that are not only for time but also for eternity. And God’s blessings will exceed anything that we can imagine, because His view is far greater than ours. His blessing will include His protection – protection from anything or anyone under His Lordship – and that includes anything or anybody, including Satan and his minions.
Can you think of anything greater than a blessing from the Creator of the universe? How about from your Heavenly Father who loves you perfectly? How about from the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? May He bless you with His blessing and His protection!
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. i can think of nothing more inviting, nothing more comforting and nothing more encouraging than the Lord’s smile. It is a smile that at once communicates His love, His acceptance, His concern, His compassion, His delight, His tenderness and His welcome.
It is a smile that is inclusive; it doesn’t exclude. It is a smile that encourages; it doesn’t ridicule. It is a smile that says, “I love you more than you will ever know.” And with it is a grace and a graciousness that cost Him the shed blood of His Son. It is a grace and a graciousness that gives and gives and gives, when i have done absolutely nothing to merit it. When i didn’t love Him, He was gracious. When i didn’t obey Him, He was gracious. When i ignored Him, He was gracious. May He smile upon you and may you grasp and comprehend the full extent of His grace and His graciousness!
May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. His favor includes His kindness and His goodness, but it is more than that. It includes His support and His friendship, but it is more than that. It includes His mildness and His mercy, but it is more than that. His favor is Him extending to me and on my behalf all that is His; placing all that is His at my disposal for my benefit. And with that favor He extends His peace – His peace that exceeds all understanding - a peace that comforts in the midst of any circumstance, and a peace that calms any storm. May you experience the fullness of His favor and the depths of His peace!
So my fellow sojourner, take heart! No matter how much longer your journey will take or where you are in your wilderness, please receive this blessing today:
'May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you His favor and give you His peace.'
Excerpt from The Wandering Years, Ch. 5