Numbers 6:22-27 gives us one of the most beautiful and most often used blessings of the bible. It helps in understanding this blessing by noting that Moses uses a type of parallelism in arranging the parts of the blessing. There are basically three parts that all mean the same thing. The different wording helps explain just exactly what Moses has in mind when he writes and what the Lord wanted him to communicate. Thus for God to “bless” the people would mean that He “would lift up His countenance “upon them and “make His face shine upon them”. For God to “keep” the people would mean that He would be “gracious” to them and give them “peace”.
This is good stuff, but perhaps it would help us understand this blessing even more if we read what the exact opposite would mean for us. The opposite of this blessing would be the most horrible curse imaginable. It would sound something like this: “The Lord curse you and remove His care from you; The Lord look upon you with enmity and be angry with you; The Lord withhold His favor from you and terrify you.” This is strong. May it cause us to melt with thankfulness that this, indeed, is not how God is inclined to those who hope in His Son.