The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
Numbers 6:25 (KJV)
Gracious – Weren’t we taught that the idea of grace is a new testament teaching? The new testament which records the new covenant is all about the new concept of grace. Well we were taught wrong. The grace of YHWH has been around since the beginning. It’s found in His actions with Adam and Eve, it’s found in the story of Noah, it’s found in the law, and here in the priestly blessing from Numbers 6.
Hānan is the Hebrew word for the verb “to be gracious” and the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament depicts it as “an action from a superior to an inferior who has no real claim for gracious treatment”. Yup, that’s us – the inferior. God is full of grace and ready to give it to whomever He deems. There’s nothing we can do to get it, we don’t deserve it, but He still gives it. The ultimate form of this action was provided through God’s Son, our Messiah, Yeshua.
What’s interesting is that there’s no need for a relationship between the inferior and superior to be granted grace. But rather, hēn, the noun form of hānan, is what begins the relationship. The relationship is created when someone has something to give to another who is in need. God is doing this all the time! The next time you ask why God allows the wicked to be successful, or allows them to be blessed in their lives, think of hānan, God’s grace.
Remember Yeshua died for the entire world even though He only came for the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24). Hānan is given not because we deserve it, or because we have a relationship with our Creator, it’s given because God chooses to.
What does that say about our lives? Should we too be gracious? Have we fulfilled the need of someone with which we have no relationship? Would you bend down to, or incline yourself to (a meaning found in hānah, another form of the word) someone you don’t know?