“May the Lord bless you and keep you”, the familiar Aaronic Blessing in Numbers 6:24-26, is considered one of the most beautiful blessings in the Bible, and perhaps the most widely-used benediction.
The word ‘keep’ is translated as ‘shamar’ in Hebrew, and found in Genesis 3:14 where the Lord sets a ‘guard’, a cherubim and a flaming sword, at the entrance of Eden to protect the Tree of Life. It communicates the idea that God is keeping, caring for, and protecting His children.
Psalm 121 ends with an echo of the Aaronic Blessing and, in particular, God keeping His people. ‘The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.’ Psalm 121:7-8
The Old Testament saints rested in their vision of an Almighty God whose all-powerful, unseen army was assembled for their protection. David boasted, ‘The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: and the Lord is among them…’ Psalm 68:17. According to the psalmist, they’re enlisted for us – ‘The Lord is my keeper’ (Psalm 121:5).
Jesus prayed to the Father concerning His disciples, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those thou has given me I have kept, and none of them is lost” (John 17:12).
The disciples did not keep themselves but by God’s mighty power. They couldn’t make it through a single day without Christ’s keeping power.
Peter said, “We are kept by the power of God through faith, unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). I see in this verse a prophecy that God is once more, in these last days, going to reveal His keeping power to the saints.
I’ve experienced and heard many testimonies of those kept and protected by God’s keeping power during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A well-known account in the Bible had King Solomon ruling between two women claiming to be the mother of a baby. Both lived in the same house, and cared for their infant sons. Tragically, one baby died, resulting in each woman identifying the remaining infant as her own.
Solomon tried to solve this conflict by suggesting they cut the baby in two, with each woman receiving half. One mother was content with his proposal, saying that if she couldn’t have the baby, then none should. However, the other woman pleaded, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
With true feelings revealed, Solomon could discern the true mother from the fraud. The one begged that her son be spared and gave in to her rival did so because only a true mother would go to the lengths of giving up her baby and risk her life if that’s what it takes to save the baby’s life.
That’s the picture of God’s keeping power. Jesus, like the real mother, sacrificed His life to keep His child safe. Sin and death have literally pried open His loving hands, bound and nailed Him on the cross to keep Him away from His child.
But death could not hold Him and the grave did not keep Him. Let us run into His loving arms, and enter a covenant with the Everlasting and Omnipotent Father afresh.
In great helplessness, but great restfulness, place ourselves in His hands. He is our Saviour and Keeper. He’ll not let His children slip or fall. We’re held in the palm of His hands.
The Everlasting God is going to be our Companion, holding our hand every moment; our Keeper, watching over us without a moment’s interval; our Father, delighting to reveal Himself in our souls always.
He has the power to let the sunshine of His love be with us all day. Andrew Murray shared this lesson – the natural sun shines upon you all day, and you enjoy its light. Wherever you are, you have the sun; God takes care that it shines on you. And God ensures that His divine light shines on you, that you shall abide in that light, if you will only trust Him.
May we trust God to do that with a great and total trust.
Moment by moment, I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment, I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus, the glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, Oh Lord, I am Thine!
Hymn “Moment By Moment” – D. W. Whittle
‘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.’