“His Countenance Did Smile upon Them” – 3 Nephi 19:25

May the LORD bless you and protect you.

May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.

The “Priestly Blessing,” Numbers 6:24-26, New Living Translation

The word “smile” does not appear in either the Old Testament or the New Testament in the King James Version of the Bible. However, in some other English versions of the Bible, passages which speak of God’s face “shining upon us” are rendered as God “smiling upon us.” One such passage is the one quoted above, a blessing which God instructed Moses to have Aaron and his sons pronounce upon the people. Another example is the refrain which returns (with some variation) three times in Psalm 80:

Our God, make us strong again!

Smile on us and save us.

Psalm 80:3, 7, 19, Contemporary English Version

The Nephites and the Lamanites whom the Savior visited following His death and resurrection experienced firsthand what those passages described. On the second day of the Savior’s ministry among them, after commanding the multitude to kneel and pray, Jesus stepped away briefly to offer a prayer on their behalf. Upon His return, He found them continuing to pray. In response, “his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them” (3 Nephi 19:25). After offering a second prayer, the Savior returned and “did smile upon them again” (3 Nephi 19:30).

Peter, James, and John had seen Jesus transfigured on a mountain, “and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). When the Savior smiled upon these Nephites and the Lamanites, they underwent a similar transformation: “They were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus” (3 Nephi 19:25).

Today, I will seek for God’s approval. I will remember that He has the power to bless me, to protect me, and to transform me. I will pray for His countenance to smile upon me and upon my family, colleagues, and neighbors, so that we can receive His grace.

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