The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24–26)

GOD LONGS TO KEEP US, HIS CREATURES, WITHIN THE SPHERE OF HIS LIFE AND HIS LIBERTY. Yet we will not always allow Him to keep us within His will, and our waywardness costs us more than we can properly appreciate, given our worldly-mindedness. When we live outside the realm of God’s will, we live outside the promise of His protection. And to be without His protection is to be without anything that can truly be called safety or security. We were made to live within the circle of God’s care, and without His keeping, we cannot long survive.

It was Moses who exhorted Israel with these words: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). And it was upon those who would choose the way of life that the priests were to pronounce this amazing blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

We would have to stretch our imagination to understand even the least of these blessings. What must it mean to be watched over by the very God of heaven? What person could be more fortunate than to enjoy the kindliness of God’s mercy and the radiance of His smile? What would we not give for God to turn His face toward us, to befriend us, and to give us wholeness and peace?

The decision to walk with God, disavowing any path except that of His will, is a choice of high and ancient wisdom, and yet it is a choice that can be made even by the most lowly. Indeed, it seems to be the lowly, more often than the mighty, who recognize this wisdom, and these folks find that although they sometimes live without worldly well-being, they walk in safety because they walk with God. May each of us seek this same safety, this being our daily prayer: O Father, as we learn to love Your will, help us keep to Your path alone, and on that path keep us in Your care.

“The will of God will not take you where the grace of God cannot keep you” (Anonymous).

Gary Henry — +

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