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Several times recently I have heard it said that God showed “favor” on someone or some group. Wondering where this phrase originated, I went to multiple translations of the Bible, until I found in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, the following translation: “May Yahweh look with favor on you” (Numbers 6:26). And why had I never seen this verse before, I asked. So, I went to my New King James Bible, as well as a few other translations and found the familiar words, “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). Ah ha! In the church where I spent my early teenage years, the choir often closed the worship service by singing this blessing, a blessing passed on by Moses to the children of Israel. The priests were solemnly to bless the people so that they would enjoy God’s favor, as the smile of a loving Father upon His children. In scriptural language, the light of God’s countenance is His expressions of favorable regards, His favor. I didn’t know that, when I was growing up. I just thought it was a nice way to end the worship service. But the choir was pronouncing God’s favor on worshippers. It has been a long time since I’ve heard a choir sing this blessing, but some days, I desperately desire the countenance of God’s favor, and wish it for others.

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