III. THE FIRST CASE OF BLESSING
The first case of blessing in the Bible is Melchisedec’s blessing of Abraham (14:18-20). Melchisedec was a type of Christ. Therefore, Melchisedec’s coming to Abraham was Christ’s coming to him. Melchisedec came to Abraham with bread and wine, just as the Lord also comes to us with bread and wine. Furthermore, Melchisedec came as the eternal priest, and Christ became a priest according to the eternal order of Melchisedec (Heb. 5:6). A priest brings people to God. If you would bless others, you must be God’s priest. Later we shall see that in the Old Testament God commanded the priests to bless His people. Blessing is the overflow of God, and this overflow is brought to people through the priests. The first blessing was bestowed by a priest. We all need to be priests, those who bring people to God.
If we would bless others, we must be close to God ourselves. We must be priests who bring others to God. People need God’s blessing because they are far away from Him. A priest eliminates the distance between God and the people; he brings those who are far off into the presence of God. On the shoulders of the high priest were two onyx stones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and on his breastplate there were twelve stones, also engraved with the names of the twelve tribes (Exo. 28:9-12, 15-21). Whenever the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies, he wore the breastplate and the shoulder plates. This indicated that he brought the people of Israel into the presence of God. We all realize that a priest serves God, but we may never have seen that he also eliminates the distance between the people and God. Before you are blessed by a priest, there may be a distance between you and God. But after he blesses you, this distance is taken away, and you are brought into the presence of God to share in the enjoyment of God. When Melchisedec blessed Abraham, that blessing brought him into the presence of God. Melchisedec even said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God" (14:19). If you read Genesis 14 carefully, you will see that Melchisedec blessed Abraham with nothing other than God. He did not say, "Be blessed with a good house"; neither did he say, "Be blessed with two sons." Instead, he said, "Be blessed of the most high God." In this way, Melchisedec brought Abraham much closer to God.
IV. THE BLESSING OF THE PRIESTS
In Numbers 6:23-27 we see a pattern of blessing. Here God commanded the priests to bless the people by saying to them, "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." The blessing here is not onefold or twofold; it is threefold. The blessing is threefold because it is a matter of the dispensing of God into man. This involves the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The Trinity is not a matter of doctrine; it is a matter of God’s dispensing Himself into His people.
The first aspect of the blessing in Numbers 6 is related to God the Father’s blessing and keeping power. The second aspect is related to the shining face of God the Son and His grace. The word "gracious" in Numbers 6:25 means more in Hebrew than the English word gracious conveys. The Hebrew meaning is to stoop in kindness to those who are inferior. This indicates that by becoming a man the second of the Trinity stooped in kindness to us, the inferior ones. When He became man, He surely stooped down from the heavens. This is grace.
I like the words "make his face shine upon thee." Have you not experienced this? Second Corinthians 4:6 says that the glory of God shines in the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true light, which is God Himself (John 8:12, 1 John 1:5). God Himself as light shines over us in the face of Jesus Christ. Thus, the second aspect of the threefold blessing is related to God the Son who stooped in kindness to visit us that we may have grace. John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us...full of grace and reality." Because the Lord has stooped in kindness to us, we now have this blessing.
The third aspect of the blessing is related to God the Spirit’s countenance and His peace. The lifting up of the Lord’s countenance upon us and the giving of peace is certainly the gracious work of the third of the Trinity, the Spirit. Today the Spirit is constantly lifting up God’s countenance over us and giving us peace. He gives peace not only in our environment, but also in our being—in our heart, in our spirit, and even in our mind. In the Spirit, through the Spirit, and with the Spirit we have peace. Others may be troubled in heart, mind, spirit, and environment, but we should not be troubled. Wherever we are, we have peace because the Spirit of God is with us and His countenance is uplifted over us.
In summary we may say that blessing is the bringing of people into the presence of God, into the very enjoyment of God. The threefold blessing in Numbers 6 is the pattern of blessing by the priests in the Old Testament. This pattern reveals that the proper blessing is to bring people into the presence of God, into the light of His face, and into the shining of His countenance that they may participate in His grace and may have peace. This surely is the proper blessing. How wonderful! How marvelous!
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 95, by Witness Lee)