“The Lord bless you and protect 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.”’
Within this beautiful blessing prayer, the name of Yahweh was prominently displayed as coming from Him, not a person. The words bless, keep, gracious, countenance and peace are sent from heaven upon His people. These are the words that God desires to bestow upon His people. Later Jeremiah reminded the Israelites in captivity of God’s love. “I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” [Jer 31:3]
So how does that translate to NT believers who are Gentiles? We were a wild olive shoot but are grafted in among the Israelites. This blessing is for us as well.
Today as you go about your daily routine stop and pray this blessing this way: Father, bless me and protect me, make your face shine upon me and be gracious to me; lift up your face upon me and give me peace. Claim this promise from Jeremiah and make it personal. Father, I know you have loved me with your everlasting love and you have been faithful to me. With this upon our mind step forth into your work with His blessing upon you because you are His child!
What’s a letter without a signature? God adds his:
Matthew has us walk with him as the “Son of Man” encounters those who are in need of healing (disease-death-demon possession). Not only does the “Son of Man” encounter those who need physical healing but those who are in need of spiritual healing. One of the keys that is noted in this chapter is the word “faith.” We read in Luke: “Your faith has saved you;” It is this faith that God sees as He observes our actions, our countenance and our words. This brings us to the first of the healing miracles in Matt 9.
Having been sent from the presence of the Gadarenes, Jesus returns to Capernaum. It is there that we are brought face to face with the first of many healings. Note the circumstance: a paralytic lying on a stretcher. We know from the other gospels that 4 friends of his have taken it upon themselves to bring him to Jesus. This is a first important lesson for us. We too have “paralyzed” friends and we must bring them to Jesus who is the great healer. Secondly, Jesus “saw their faith.” Question to ask: Does Jesus see my faith?
In contrast the experts in the law who came as observers saw not with eyes of faith but eyes of criticism. We too will face those who will say we do not need to bring our paralyzed friends to Jesus. Satan would have us leave them paralyzed and destitute of their needs. But, James notes that we prove our faith by what we do and these 5 men stood apart from the religious leaders bound by legalism. Note the words of Jesus: have courage. The paralyzed friend needed words to persevere in times when he stepped out in the arena of living faith in the sight of the religious leaders. They took a step of faith towards the Master. Question to ask: Are we willing to stand apart from those who do not think we need to speak or do? Jesus added that his sins were forgiven. Jesus sees our hearts and needs and this man had a sin problem along with his physical problem.
Jesus noted the reaction of the experts in the law, these who knew the jots and tittles of each and every verse. What they said in their hearts, “he is blaspheming” registered upon their countenance. Again Jesus “saw” their lack of faith; in fact it was null and void.
The crowd of observers “saw” and were afraid, amazed, and honored God unlike the experts in the law. When we “see” the transformation of a life are we amazed? Do we honor God?
Lastly the Master told the paralytic to take up his bed and walk as a testimony to all that the “Son of Man” has authority. He is the True Messiah. When we meet the Messiah, do we then take up our bed and walk? Matthew now has provided concrete evidence that Jesus is the promised Messiah, he is the Son of Man and he is the Son of David. Will you accept Him?