The priests were given the privilege of serving at the altar and ministering in the sanctuary, but they were also allowed to bless God’s people in the name of the Lord. We use this blessing today, for it belongs to us as well as to Israel. The church has been blessed with “every spiritual blessing” through the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3) and we can claim this benediction through Him.
If ever a nation was blessed, it was the nation of Israel. God called them in His grace, rescued them from bondage, gave them His holy Word, gave them the Promised Land, and dwelt with them in the sanctuary; and He gave these blessings to no other nation. Of course, the greatest blessing of all was the sending of His Son through the nation of Israel, for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22; see Rom. 9:1–5).
The threefold use of the name of the Lord suggests that our God is a Trinity of persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Father is the Lord (Ps. 110:1), and so is the Son (Rom. 10:9), and so is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17). You see the Trinity in Matthew 3:16–17; 28:19–20; John 3:34–35; and 2 Corinthians 13:14, as well as many other places in the Bible. Ephesians 1:3–14 is actually a hymn to the Trinity: Father (vv. 3–6), Son (vv. 7–12), and Spirit (vv. 13–14).
The pronouns in this benediction are singular, meaning that God’s blessings come to us personally; but there is a plural pronoun in Numbers 6:27, “I will bless them.” God blesses the nation by blessing individuals, and by blessing the nation, He blesses the world. God promised Abraham, “I will bless you … and you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2, niv). We bless the world by sharing God’s truth, often one person at a time.
We need the blessings that God lists here: to be cared for by the Lord who watches over us; to have the smile of His face upon us and the riches of His grace given to us; to have Him pay attention to us when we call; and, as the result of these things, to enjoy His peace in our hearts. Peace (shalom) is one of the great words in the Hebrew vocabulary, and it means much more than the absence of storm and trouble around us. It involves quietness of heart within us, spiritual health and spiritual prosperity, adequacy for the demands of life, and the kind of spiritual well-being that rises above circumstances. George Morrison defined “peace” as “the possession of adequate resources,” which is what Paul had in mind when he wrote Philippians 4:6–20.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1999). Be counted (pp. 28–29). Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Pub.