The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
The second part of the Aaronic blessing relates to Christ the Son’s work in our lives. These blessings are not mere hopeful wishes, but they are the confident avowal of the good intentions of God toward us that He will carry out. It is stated in a form of a blessing to help the worshipper know what God desires to do in his life and to anticipate that He will indeed do this.
The phrase “make His face shine upon you” means to smile the smile of friendship. The use of the word “face” is intriguing, for it carries with it the idea of identity and self-disclosure. This is the idea of God revealing Himself to us, of Him pulling back the layers of our ignorance and hardness of heart to the point where we see not only vague ideas of God, not only a form of God, but to the point where we gaze into His face, as Moses did when he prayed to God “face to face.”
Certainly part of the blessing can be fulfilled in the sense of God smiling upon us whether we see His face or not, but this does not really satisfy the full meaning of the blessing. This anticipates the coming of the Christ and His mission of revealing God to us and reconciling us to God. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 we read, “He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” The face of Jesus of Nazareth was seen by people who had heard Christ’s sermons, saw His public ministry, or even witnessed his crucifixion. Yet as Paul wrote this to the Corinthians he was referring to something else, for the majority of them had not physically seen Christ.
He was referring to the miraculous work of God’s Spirit who takes the words of the gospels and begins to form an identity of Christ in our hearts. We form a face for Him, that is, we form an identity for Christ and begin to see Him as more than just an historical figure, more than a moral teacher. We begin to see Him as our Savior, Redeemer, Counselor, and Friend. Through the cross of Christ we find forgiveness and restoration. Christ did all that was required for our salvation and now we stand before God in friendship.
All that Christ requires is our repentance from sin and faith in Him. And this is the point of receiving the blessing and living within the blessing, to be constantly in the attitude of repentance and faith. To the degree that we humble ourselves, God lifts us up. The soul that comes to God in utter humility and repentance finds the face of Christ smiling upon Him and discovers that God lifts him up and carries him forward into life and intimacy.
Lord, let us live within the realm of the blessing of seeing Your face shine upon us. Lead us to keep the attitude of repentance and faith in You. Reveal to us Your love and steadfast dedication to us. Amen.