By Doug Hazen
I love the Shema. It’s the blessing that Moses commanded the Levites to speak over the people of Israel. And because it is SO personal, it is the primary blessing I use to bless people.
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
The personal nature of God blessing or increasing me and keeping or protecting me is incredible. And the fact that he would make his face to shine on me recalls a Bible school professor who described running back and forth on the beach one night with a full moon above. No matter where he turned, the moon always was fully on and before him. I especially like the idea of God turning his face toward me and giving me shalom or completeness in him. Man, that is powerful!
I’ve read and quoted that prayer many times. But as I read again through the book of Numbers and once again read the Shema, my eye dropped to the next verse, 27.
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
WHAT? The job of the Levites was to pray the prayer over the people of God, and in so doing, they would “put my name” on them?! As I reflected on that, I pondered the serious blessing of “wearing” or displaying God’s name. It’s almost like putting on a nametag with HIS name rather than my own. As I reflected on this, other passages of scripture came to mind with the same thought.
“Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s…”
“I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem,
which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.”
I was so impressed with this that, during a couple of prayer times, I had our WorldVenture Mobilization Staff and a prayer group at my church write a name of God significant to them on a sticky name tag and wear it. Names like “Protector”, “Ever Present”, “Rescuer”, “Healer” and others popped up around the room. God’s name was on us. So were their grateful smiles. Prayers of worship came easy.
Think of it! You bear his name. That is an unbelievable blessing!
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