The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:26 (KJV)
Lift up his countenance – Here we are again, back to the word “face”, although this time translated as “countenance”. As we discovered before paniym is the Hebrew word for “face”, but is always used in the plural – “faces”. In verse 25 we read that this priestly blessing calls for YHWH’s faces to shine upon you, but in this verse the call is made for YHWH to “lift up” His faces upon you. Why is this short and reverent blessing focusing on His face to the point of mentioning it twice?
To understand this, we need to understand our abilities of interaction with Him. We know that we can speak with God, and it’s even possible for Him to audibly speak back. There are some who would believe this is more of a spiritual interaction, but according to Scripture, people actually conversed with God. For example, Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, and Yeshua Himself all vocally communicated with YHWH. We can also feel His Spirit move us in powerful ways. Now this is probably more spiritual, but it’s definitely much more powerful than the shaking, rolling on the floor, jumping, or raising hands that so many have confined the Spirit’s manifestation to be. Rather, it’s the performance of the gifts of the Spirit such as wisdom, healing, prophecy, miracles, etc.
But in this day and age, where so many have been rooted in Greek theology, there is one thing that we cannot do – we cannot look upon YHWH and see His face. For the Greek-minded individual, the most important of the five senses is sight. This is why the Greeks made statues of their gods. This is why idols were so prevalent in religions outside of Israel. People wanted to see their gods. But the Hebrews couldn’t, otherwise they would die. So for the Hebrew, their most important sense was that of hearing. This is why Apostle Paul writes to the Romans that faith comes by hearing – not seeing. This is why one of the most repeated prayers among God’s people begins “Hear O Israel…” But again, we are rooted in the Greek worldview where “seeing is believing”, and if one can’t see God, then the conclusion is that He doesn’t exist.
As science explores deeper and farther than we ever have, there are many constantly spouting that God doesn’t exist. He can’t be found. How great is YHWH’s mercy, right! If they actually saw Him, they’d die, and so YHWH remains hidden. His long-suffering, compassion, and love allows them to continue in life in hopes they someday turn to Him that they may know life eternal. But for now, we cannot see God.
We cannot see if His face is hidden from us or shining in favor upon us. And so we look to this blessing, a blessing that ensures us that God is lifting up His face upon us. His face is shining upon us. Our God is good.