Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. (Leviticus 9:22)
Even though the words of the priestly blessing (birchat kohenim) are not recorded here (see Numbers 6:22-27), there is no doubt that this blessing was the one traditionally pronounced by the priests upon the children of Israel. The words of the blessing are:
May the LORD bless and keep you. May the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and be gracious unto you. May the LORD make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.
Every priest, beginning with Aaron, raised their hands to extend to the people of God this blessing for grace, prosperity and peace. It was, in fact, an expression of God’s will for His people and, through His priests, He made known His intentions for them — peace, not war; blessing and not curses. As He told the prophet, Jeremiah: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Unfortunately, so many have the wrong impression about the Almighty. They confuse the logical and just consequences of their own sin with supposed vengeance from an angry God. The reality is, He is much more about mercy than judgment; He is much more about peace than the evils of war. He desires to bless His people rather than see the ill effects of curses upon them. So then, let us, as priests of the Most High, express His purpose to others. Let’s use our hands and mouth to bless people, to encourage people and point them to the One who is All Merciful which is the greatest blessing of all.
Blessings and Shalom,