God’s Radiant Countenance (Numbers 6)

At the end of Numbers 6, we find what is referred to as the “Aaronic Blessing.” In the Voice translation it reads, “The Eternal One bless and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Eternal lift up His countenance to look upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) What we see in this blessing, is the radical impact of the face and countenance of God.

When we pause in God’s presence – which truly is as simple as stopping to tune into His frequency and opening our hearts to Him, we can feel the warmth of His glory and the brilliance of His countenance. This is us turning to “see” His face. And the impact from when we do that is profound. 

First of all what I’m sensing Him highlighting is that He’s responsive. Not in a reactionary way, but rather He’s very in tune with His children. And in the same way a parent might wait to see their child make a good choice so they can positively reinforce that behavior by rewarding them, so God is ever mindful and in tune with our choices and actions. So when we tune into Him, He responds. 

In His response, He’s “turning” His face to us. As I pressed in for more understanding, He connected this to eye contact. When we have extended eye contact it creates both intimacy and connection. When God turns His face to us, He’s giving us connection and opening up opportunity for intimacy if we will receive it. 

As God turns His face to us, He is being “gracious” to us. In Numbers 6:25, this word in Hebrew is chanan (H2603), which means “to have grace or mercy extended, to receive direct favor, or to be shown consideration.” I don’t know about you, but I’d very much like to have the favor of God – I’d love for Him to “show consideration” for me.

As the blessing continues in verse 26, it connects His countenance with peace. As we see the face of God, and as we look at His countenance, we have peace because we know who He is. We can see His strength and love as we look in His face. We know we are safe and protected and loved. As a result, we find ourselves at peace because how could we not be? We are resting in the assurance of who He is, and because (taking this back to verse 24) we know He will “bless us and keep us.”

So as we look upon His radiant countenance, we cannot help but be changed. He literally brings light to the darkness. As we face Him, anything trying to throw shade on us is obliterated by His glorious face. 

In Psalm 4:6 (VOICE) it shares, “Crowds of disheartened people ask, “Who can show us what is good?” Let Your brilliant face shine upon us, O Eternal One, that we may know the undeniable answer.” 

In the same way, when we take time to have eye contact with God – to be face-to-face and allow His countenance to reflect on us, not only are we radically changed, but we reflect that change to those around us, so they too can see the profound glory of our God. 

We see this happen to Moses in Exodus 34:29. In the NIV it says Moses “was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” We don’t even have to be conscious of the difference, and in some cases we aren’t because face time with God is our “norm.” But to those who it isn’t, they’ll see it reflecting off us like a sign and a wonder.

May we all choose to take the time to have face time with God, and to see our faces, countenances, and lives transformed by the glory of God’s beautiful face.

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