Many churches speak the words of the Aaronic Blessing at the end of worship: “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26).
This blessing puts the Lord’s name upon each member of the congregation. God the Father Almighty, the ever-present God, has placed his name on each individual saint. Now wherever we go, we are with the Lord. Whatever happens to us, we are under the Father’s care. Every time the blessing is spoken to us, God reminds us that he is always with us because where God’s Name is, the Lord is there to bless and keep us in his grace and mercy.
So when we pray, we ask our heavenly Father to be kind to us and bless us. We ask that he cause his face to shine upon us so we may know his way here on earth and hereafter in heaven. Likewise, as we go out into the world, we pray that God’s name would bring his word of salvation to all people.
For God to shine his face upon us is the same as saying, “Christ Jesus is with us.” God’s name, God’s word, God’s salvation, God’s face: these are all synonyms for Jesus. In his name, we are forgiven all our sins. In his name, we receive blessings we don’t deserve. In his name, he receives all our damnation and punishment for sin. In his name, we receive God’s love and mercy.
God’s name is placed upon us in the blessing so that he can carry us through everything that happens day after day. By his name, he shepherds us through the stress and sickness, problems of life, and burying our beloved. Again, we don’t deserve it. That’s why it’s called a blessing. We have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but for Jesus’ sake, by his name, God is merciful to us sinners. His face shines on us and will continue to shine on us so long as Jesus is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally.