The LORD bless thee, and keep thee;
Numbers 6:24 (KJV)
Keep – The priestly blessing upon the children of Israel is one of the most powerful blessings I’ve encountered in the Bible. My eyes well up with tears upon hearing these words. I have to pause after each verse and take it all in. When I hear this verse, my first thought ventures to Yeshua’s words about all those who are in His hand, no man can remove. Yes, may YHWH keep me! So willing am I to hold Him to this, but then I read this word in Hebrew – shamar.
Shamar, oddly enough, forces me to reflect upon myself. You see shamar is everything about protection, guarding, tending to, and even caring for. Obviously we turn to a God in which we desire His action of shamar. But did you know this is the same word God uses when instructing us to shamar (keep) His commandments? This priestly blessing occurs after God has requested the same from us toward His word. He’s just asked us to protect, guard, tend to, and care for His commandments, and then He tells the priests to bless us that He may, in return, shamar (keep) us.
Every time I hear these words my heart pours forth to thank YHWH, but instantly I feel more obligated than ever to submit myself to Him. How can I expect Him to keep me if I don’t keep His word? He has entrusted it to us, the faithful, just like he did with Adam when He placed Adam in the garden. God instructed Adam to dress the garden and keep it. This seems to be a common action of God. He gives man something wonderful with the expectation of our commitment to it, but yet we neglect it, we abuse it, or even forget it. This is repeated in the parable Yeshua gives about the talents wherein He provides something great, but with the intention of our effort of investment. It was the servant that returned with an investment that was awarded, not the one who buried and neglected it.
But God is better than us. He hasn’t neglected, He hasn’t abused, and He hasn’t forgotten us, even when the prophets continually warned of these outcomes. The greatest example of this being the divorcement of the house of Israel from God himself. Surely that was a time He stopped caring for us, and protecting us. But what does He do? He gives us the greatest of all gifts – His Son. And through His Son’s death, the divorce has been annulled and the bride can now prepare herself for marriage again (Romans 7). Thank you for keeping us, LORD.