READ: Numbers 6
THINK: I have a 4 year-old son. I have watched the movie Toy Story approximately 387 times (if you include Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 in the count). I don’t know if that’s abnormal for a parent of a 4 year-old, but I’m guessing it’s pretty close to average. Why? Because it’s a pretty awesome movie franchise. My favorite thing about it? The relationship between the toys – especially Woody – and Andy, their owner.
In the first movie, Sheriff Woody and Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear belong to Andy. But Buzz, after believing that he is an actual space ranger, suffers a severe identity crisis when he sees a commercial on TV and realizes that he is “just” a toy. This not only frustrates Buzz but it deeply depresses him as well. Until Woody comes along and reminds him, “Look, over in that house is a kid who thinks you are the greatest, and it’s not because you’re a space ranger, pal. It’s because you’re a toy – you are his toy.” Those words eventually hit Buzz in a powerful way when he looks at the bottom of his shoe and realizes that Andy has written his name across it.
Andy’s name, written on the bottom of Buzz’s shoe – and Woody’s – completely redefines their identity. It means they belong. They belong to somebody so significant and meaningful that their very existence is infused with meaning because of that belonging. We do too! Numbers 6 is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. I love the Aaronic or Priestly blessing: “The LORD bless you and keep you, The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the LORD life up his countenance on you and give you peace.” These are the words that God gave to Aaron, the first Chief Priest of Israel to bless the nation with. And they are the equivalent of God writing his name on the bottom of our shoe, claiming his people for himself.
That is no insignificant thing! God’s name is glorious and awesome (Deuteronomy 28:58), and for him to bestow it upon his people is the highest honor he could bestow. But he does it out of love. This particular blessing was one that was given when the High Priest emerged from the Tent of Meeting after bring sacrifices to God in the Holy of Holies. Those sacrifices were a symbolic rendering of the restoration of relationship between a holy God and his broken people. And the blessing that God instructed Aaron to pronounce was a powerful one for his people.
This blessing reminds us of God’s care, God’s love, and God’s protection. The fact that it talks about God’s face is particularly powerful. The idea of God raising his face to Israel shows that he takes pleasure in his people and loves them. It also assures them of his grace. And his turning of his face toward them is the sign of his peace. And that peace goes beyond our modern English understanding of the word. That peace is shalom. Shalom is a Hebrew word that we translate “peace” but it means way more than that. It means: wholeness, fullness, peace, completeness, fulfillment, joy, and more. God gives shalom to his people. That is unbelievable!
Today, as you go about your life and all of the tasks that accompany it, live in the reality of this blessing. Live in the reality that God has written his name on you just like Andy wrote his name on Buzz and Woody. And remember that this reality changes everything about who you are!
PRAY: Thank God for what he’s done for you. Thank him for giving you a new identity. Thank him for his blessings. Thank him for giving you shalom!