Have you ever been asked to give a benediction? Typically the benediction is a closing segment of a wedding, funeral or worship service, although the meaning of the word does not force it into the position of last place. Our English word is born out of two Latin words, bene which means “well,” and dicere, meaning “to speak.” Literally, the word means, “to speak well” or “to say something good.” It has come to mean, “to speak a blessing,” often a parting blessing.
One of the best scriptural blessings that has developed into a popular benediction is Moses’ instruction to Aaron and his sons, describing the way they were to bless Israel. In the book of Numbers the text reads, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace,’” Numbers 6:23-26, NKJV.
The blessing is both singular and three-fold. The opening summary is the singular message, “The Lord bless you and keep you.” It is followed by two statements on the same blessing – each using a reference to the face of God. One asks God to be gracious to you, implying outer blessings. The other imparts God’s peace, pointing to His inner blessing.
This model benediction highlights a personal encounter with the God of creation. It invites us to know God and to experience the fullness of His presence.
As I conclude my last day as the Biblical Recorder’s editor this Friday, I want this final BRweekly column to be a benediction – a blessing to you, our readers.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews closed the last chapter with this benediction that I want to leave with you. Please read it carefully and meditate on it.
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen,” Hebrews 13:20-21, NKJV.
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