Numbers 6:22-27 (Part 7) – Like Your Wife Paying Off A Debt for You That You Incurred Before You Met Her…

Posted: July 23, 2016 in Book of Numbers

Numbers 6:22-27 (Part 7)

The Priestly Blessing

Have you ever had someone pay off a debt for you, a debt that you have been struggling to keep up with. I have had it happen to me once. Or have you had a windfall of sorts, such as a tax refund, and instead of blowing it on something foolish, you actually use it to pay down or pay off a debt. Before Elena and I began our relationship in October 2007, I would blow my tax refunds on things of pleasure. In my single life, it would be to buy new electronics, or to finance a really nice beach house for vacation. In my previous marriages, it would have financed the purchase of an above ground pool, or to replace one, to finance a vacation or to pay off Christmas or something. Even, as I said, in my single life, my refunds were used to sometimes just get back to ground zero. Refunds were sometimes used to pay off things that had already happened. Refunds were never used to get ahead. It wasn’t until I met Elena that my mindset on debt got changed. It was through discussions with her that I came to realize that getting rid of fixed costs, loan payments, would give me the ability to not just get back to ground zero but rather to free up cash that had previously been spoken for each month. Thinking now of the burdens of unsecured loans, credit card bills, student loans, and how much of my monthly income those things chewed up is astounding. Over the past 9 years of our relationship, we have managed to pay off all my debts with the exception of our mortgage. That is the only fixed debt that we have remaining.

 

With the financial blessings that have been accorded me in my current job for these past nine years, we have paid off cars (and not immediately traded them like the pre-Elena Mark would have), paid off one of my student loans (for my most recent master’s degree), been able to grant ownership of a car to one daughter (because I had paid the loan off for it), been able to pay off the remaining balance of a car loan for one daughter so that she could own her car outright, paid off unsecured debts, paid off any of the known bad debts of my past, and have just wiped by credit report clean. However, there is one act of love that my wife showed me during this war of paying off debts that we have been waging over the past nine years is when she used one of her 401k balances from a previous employer to pay off my student loan from my first master’s degree which had a mid-five figure balance, much higher than the loan for my second master’s degree. I knew that with the limitations of what my bonuses or tax refunds in the future were going to be, it was going to take 2 years worth of bonuses and tax refunds to pay this loan off. My wife said I have this 401k that’s sitting there idle and this student loan has a significant monthly payment. The cost of servicing this student loan over the next twenty years was going to far outstrip any amount of earnings she was going to get on that money. It just made good sense to quit earning money on that investment and use it to extinguish a debt.

 

Do you realize what a lifted burden this was for me? It was a grant of favor that was so undeserved. Elena and I have been in a relationship for 9 years but only married for 6 of those years. We were in our late 40’s when we got married. We had both been married before. There were things that we doggedly held onto as MY assets as we went through our divorces. Elena’s 401k was from monies earned before I met her and most of which before she even knew me. This investment money had stayed with her through two marriages. Are you seeing what I am saying here? It is not like this money even remotely had my touch. It was all earned before we got married. It was hers. I understand the biblical concept of two becoming one and what is mine is yours also. I get that. Ok! But, this was money set aside by her before she even hardly knew of me as a whisp in the wind. To hear her tell it, it’s no big deal. It was and IS to me. This was the greatest act of kindness and love that I have ever been shown. Think about almost $40k of government debt hanging over your head, most likely for a very long time. The thing here too was that this particular student loan was all incurred from 1999-2000 from my first master’s degree. I had managed to avoid paying on it with a daughter in college and claims of financial hardship over the years and had started paying on it in earnest in 2010-11. But I was able to defer it again when I went after my second master’s degree between 2011-2014. Finally after the last deferral period was over, we almost in 2015 when I had to start paying on it again. So, as you can see, this debt was incurred long before I even knew who Elena was, while I was married to someone else. Now, she was using money she had earned long before I met her, while she was married to someone else to pay off a debt for me that was incurred long before I met her and while I was married to someone else. Could you show that kind of love to your spouse who brought a debt into a marriage from long ago before you even knew them and use money that you earned long before you met your spouse? That is love my friends. Elena loves me not only in the eros kind of way but she loves me with agape love as well. This show of love was one I did not deserve. It was a grant of favor to me because she loves me. Like I said, I know the whole thing about two becoming one in marriage, what you go through I go through, your baggage from your past is now mine too, where you go I go. I get all that and truly do appreciate the oneness that God intends for marriage, but it does not take away my appreciation of the love that my wife has for me when she showed me how “all-in” she was about our marriage. It is the definition of your baggage becoming my baggage. This grant of kindness will never be forgotten. It stands as a seminal moment in our marriage that I will never forget. If you are reading this right now, Elena, please know how much I learned about your love for me at that moment. I love you my dear, Baby Girl!

 

It was this idea of granting favor from one to another for the sake of love and kindness that I thought about when I was mulling over the verbs used in Numbers 6:26 today. The verb that I was pondering is the English verb “to give” (or “to grant” in some translations). Let us read through today’s passage and think of what “give” (or “grant” in some translations) really means here. Here, again, we read Numbers 6:22-27 once again for today:

 

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

 

24

“‘“The Lord bless you

    and keep you;

25

the Lord make his face shine on you

    and be gracious to you;

26

the Lord turn his face toward you

    and give you peace.”’

 

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

 

Today’s Hebrew what that we translate into English as “give” or “grant” in Numbers 6:26 is the Hebrew verb שים, or phonetically written as, siym. It means “to set, ordain, establish, found, appoint, constitute, make, determine, fix”. I think of the English words used her I think “to grant” is the more appropriate word to use in context of the Hebrew word that it replaces. God grants us peace. When you think of the English verb “to grant”, it has a whole other connotation, at least to me, than the verb, “to give”. “To grant”, the transitive verb in English, is defined as “to permit as a right, privilege, or favor” or “to bestow or transfer; to give the possession or title of by a deed.”

 

What is God granting us here. What favor is God giving us? What is He bestowing or transferring to us? What is He giving us possession of? As we will find out tomorrow as we conclude our 8 day journey into the Priestly Blessing, God is granting us peace. He will bestow us peace. He will transfer peace to us. He will give us possession of peace. He is giving us the favor of peace. The implication here is astounding. God owns peace. It is His to grant. We cannot create it or earn it. It is He who transfers it to us. It is He that gives us ownership of it to us. He gives or grants us the keys to the car of peace. Here you go, son! Here’s the keys. Enjoy. Peace comes from God. Peace is only in God not in us. Peace is in God because He is holy and righteous and pure and He is truth. He is perfection. Therefore, in Him there is peace. There is not conflict because there is nothing imperfect warring against the perfect. With us, as humans, we are imperfect. We have sin. Even as children of God who have claimed Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, we still have sin and imperfections. There is a mighty war. There is no peace in us. We have to be granted peace by God through Jesus Christ. Think about that! You and I know the war between the evil in us and the Holy Spirit is a mighty roaring war that goes on daily until we are perfected in heaven when we pass into eternity. You and I know that we have no peace. It is only through the perfection granted to us by God through Jesus Christ that we can have peace.

 

Think about your life now compared to the life before you met Jesus. You were never at peace. But even now with the mighty war raging between your flesh and the Holy Spirit, there is a peace to us. We know that with our salvation, all our imperfections are wiped away in the sight of God. He sees the perfection of Jesus Christ when He sees us. Alone before God without the covering of Jesus Christ, we would be afraid. When we stand before the throne of God on our day of judgment, we will have all our imperfections exposed before the pure and just God. We will feel naked and afraid before Him. We will know He knows it all. All of our thoughts and actions that we have spent a lifetime covering up will be exposed. We will be ashamed. We will be aghast at our own self in the bright light of God’s purity. We will expect Him to hit the trap door button and let us fall to the fate we deserve in hell. But wait! Jesus says to the Father, this one is mine! He then covers us in His perfection. We are so thankful that the Father is now seeing only Jesus instead of our ugliness. God is seeing the beauty of Jesus Christ. The Father will then say, Let Him pass. We are now inside the gates of heaven knowing full well that we do not deserve it on our own. We shout Hosanna! We sing praises of thanksgiving like you would never believe you could sing. We have been granted peace for eternity. The war is over. The war is won. We owe it all to Jesus Christ. We know that we did not deserve this ticket to the inside of heaven’s gates, but Jesus granted us favor because we accepted Him as our Savior and Lord. He gave us the keys to the gates of heaven. That is a grant, a gift, and unwarranted show of love and kindness of the greatest proportions. We have been granted eternity with God. Granted! Not earned. Granted!

 

That makes me tear up to the point of crying when you think about it. It is like the grant of favor that Elena showed me. She showed me that she believed in me and how much she loved me. She said I am “all-in” with you, Mark! Let’s go! God grants us similar favor when we accept Him as our Savior. We did not earn what He grants us. We have no rights to the salvation He grants us. The peace that He grants us comes from within Him and not through something that you and I have done. Granted! Granted! Granted! We have been bestowed with a gift to which we have no prior claim. He brings forward his eternal peace and salvation that was his to grant from before time began and He gives it to us now knowing full well that we have no prior claim to it. He grants it to us because we love Him and He loves us. That is the grant! That is the favor! That is the bestowment! That is the title to the car that He gives us that we did not earn! That is the possession of the Promised Land that we did not pay for but that He graciously gives to us. Graciously grants to us! Granted! Not earned.

 

Amen and Amen.

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