One of my earliest memories from the church is the pastor standing in front of the congregation in his black preaching robe, billowing sleeves swaying beneath his extended arms, reciting the benediction from Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you” (Num. 6:24). To this day, these words bring me comfort whether I find them in Numbers or reinterpreted in Psalm 67.
The passage in Numbers marks Israel as God’s chosen people, and Psalm 67 edits the language to argue that Israel’s purpose extends beyond election. Building upon the Abrahamic covenant (see Genesis 12:1-3), the psalmist invites Israel to see that they have been blessed in order to share God with the nations.
The God who blesses Israel is the source of all order and meaning, judging and guiding the people of earth. This divine, righteous order was central to the Mesopotamian worldview. It was one of the reasons that many regarded the sun-god Šamaš as the guardian of life. The psalmist claims this role for Yahweh, who shines God’s divine face upon the beloved.
It is this God of divine order, of the sun, that blesses Israel. And to be blessed by Yahweh is to be made holy. So, when we know God, we too glow—perhaps not literally but in truth. And the radiance that comes with God’s blessing cannot be contained or controlled. Like a lamp at night, we begin to stand out in a way that others notice. And, as Psalm 67 tells us, no one lies beyond the invitation of this light—not even the “nations” or those who are perceived as idolatrous, dangerous, and perverted.
God whose brightness eclipses the sun, help me to see all the ways that you bless me and make me holy. Open my heart to see the radiance of others and share your goodness with them. Amen.
As we near the end of our Easter celebration, we begin to wonder: What do we do when the party is over? God meets us in this place of uncertainty by offering transformative blessings through this week’s readings—a word that grounds us in our God-given identity while calling us to a greater purpose in the world. This divine mystery asks us to hold in tension the grace of God, who gives us gifts we do not earn, and the call of God toward action. Psalm 67 bestows on us the blessing and call of God’s radiance. John reminds us of the blessing of peace and the call of integrity. The conversion of Lydia in Acts invites us to create space for mysterious interplay between the divine and human action. Revelation reminds us of the blessing of life and reconciliation. Holding all these things is made possible through the Holy Spirit, who plays a prominent role in many of the readings this week.
Read Psalm 67. How do I radiate the blessing of God? How do I share this light and experience the brilliance of others?
Read John 14:23-29. Think of a time when you were able to hold peace and pain together. How did you recognize the Spirit’s presence with you?
Read Acts 16:9-15. What does it mean to you to be sent by the Holy Spirit?
Read Revelation 22:1-5. How do you experience the blessing of living water? Who do you believe is beyond saving? How do you think of them in light of the blessing of reconciliation promised in Revelation 21 and 22?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.