TO CHEW ON: "I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing." Genesis 12:2
We cannot read God's message to Abraham and not be struck by the repetition of one word: BLESS. In the span of two verses it occurs five times (in forms of "bless," "blessing," and "blessed").
["Bless" here is the Hebrew word barak - "to bless, kneel."
In English we define bless as "to consecrate, make holy; to honor, exalt; glorify; to invoke God's favour upon; to bestow happiness or prosperity; to guard and protect."]
As we follow the idea of blessing through the Bible, here are some things we discover:
1. Blessing is within our creator God's power to bestow (Psalm 134:3).
2. It is involved with God's plan for the Jewish people (Genesis 26:24)
- Blessing is evidenced in the unusually large harvest of year six in a seven-year cycle, so that the people would have food when they let their land rest in year seven (Leviticus 25:21).
- It is visible in their large families (Deuteronomy 1:11).
- It results in them settling in Canaan — the land of promise (Deuteronomy 26:15).
- Israel's independence and self-sufficiency are an evidence of God's blessing (Deuteronomy 15:6).
3. It is connected to obedience. Fourteen verses of Deuteronomy 28 are taken up with promises of personal, family and national blessings that will flow out of obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
4. It is closely connected with giving (2 Chronicles 31:10; Ezekiel 44:30).
5. It is an expression of God's love (Deuteronomy 23:5).
6. It is His presence (Psalm 21:6).
7. It comes when people live peacefully together (Psalm 133:1-3).
8. It makes rich (Proverbs 10:22).
9. It is part of the upside down Kingdom of God, where we inherit a blessing when we refuse to reciprocate evil with evil, but with blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
But, you say, these blessings were for Bible time people not for us now — right?
Wrong! The exciting thing is that the blessing pronounced on Abraham and his descendants is linked to us too. Look at Galatians 3:13-14:
"Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith." - Galatians 3:14 NLT
So when we say, "God bless you," we are not mouthing empty words. Rather we are invoking a rich heritage of blessing that is ours because of Jesus — just another fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and the way he would bless, made way back in Genesis ("And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed" Genesis 12:3)
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to live blessed and under Your blessing. May my life be a means of blessing to others today. Amen.
MORE: "I Will Delight" - Fernando Ortega
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.