Bless, Blessed

<<fortunate, happy>>

A blessing is a statement of goodwill and happiness said to another or  is something beneficial received, that is not deserved, and is the opposite of a curse. In the Biblical sense it is a declaration of God’s goodness or the imparting of supernatural favour, something beyond any human ability to deliver and measure in magnitude. “Blessed [fortunate] is the person whose sin the Lord does not hold against them” – because it has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus (Ps 32:1,2). May ‘God bless you’ is a statement calling or invoking God’s favour on others (Num 6:24-26; Ruth 2:4). People can both seek blessing for themselves and others [from God] and be a channel of His blessing to others.

The blessings of God:

1/. There is a general blessing on all people, regardless of whether they are sinner or saint, Hindu or atheist, as He makes the rain fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike, and even the land that is productive, fulfilling its God designed function, receives the blessing of God (Mt 5:45; Heb 6:7). However, there is a special blessing on Christians who have been given the gift of salvation and continue to obey Him. “To as many as receive Him He gives the right to be His children” (Jn 1:12).         

2/. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands…The Lord will bless everything you put your hand to” (Deut 28:1,8). Choose to live so He must bless you, for He will bless those who honour Him (1 Sam 2:30; Ps 115:13). “Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil…’ So God granted him what he asked (1 Chr 4:9,10). This Israelite’s bold request for God’s favour in abundance, was not motivated by selfish desires and personal benefit, but rather that his influence for God would be increased. God has no favourites (those singled out for preferential treatment), however people through their wise choices and subsequent lifestyle position themselves for blessing by hearing and doing what the Bible teaches (Ps 119:1,2; Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9; Jas 1:22,25). Blessings can’t be bought, however they can be sought, though they may be costly in other ways.

3/. To be blessed the first Psalm lists three things to avoid – taking advice from the ungodly; hanging around with sinners; sitting with the mockers – and three things to pursue to be blessed: delighting in reading the Scriptures; meditating on

By obeying God we position ourselves to be blessed – “My sheep listen and follow” – John 10:27

(thinking over) what is read; and discovering ways to follow Him more closely. Such a person will be “like a tree planted by streams of water, producing its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers” (Ps 1:1-3).

4/. Receiving God’s blessing is dependent upon us fulfilling our part.  God says, ‘If you do...I will do...’ with His promise, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…” reflecting this (Mt 6:33). As we get our priorities right the blessings will come for the pure in heart (Ps 24:4,5).  Thus, we must know and do what God requires of us if we are to experience His blessings. These are not just for personal enjoyment but for sharing and we will be required to give account [to God] of how we have used the blessings and talents He has given us.

5/. Blessings often come disguised in testing – if we respond correctly! Not only was Abraham blessed because he obeyed, the blessing continues to spread out to touch all nations (Gen 18:18, 22:15-18). Even a rebuke can be seen as a blessing in that it sets us back on the right track. “Blessed is the person who the Lord corrects…who trusts in you...delights in your commands...walks in God’s ways...who trusts and has confidence in God...those who persevere” – that is, those whose God is the Lord (Job 5:17; Ps 84:12, 112:1, 128:1, 144:15; Jer 17:7; Jas 5:11). 

A Blessing for God:

We should be careful to acknowledge God as the source of our blessings and praise Him accordingly (Jas 1:16,17).  “Bless the Lord”, was a popular expression when the Psalms were written. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive…honour, and glory, and blessing” will be said throughout all ages (Rev 5:12).

Blessing others:

We are blessed so we can be a blessing; “Freely [liberally] we have received, freely [liberally] give…” applying the golden rule (Mt 10:8; Lk 6:31).

Blessing people is a reflection of God’s character, and so we are to bless those who do us harm rather than retaliating in like manner (Gen 1:28; Mk 10:16; 1 Pet 3:9). Jesus and Stephen responded like this when they asked God not to hold their executioners responsible for their actions (Lk 23:34; Act 7:60).

It is the unique task of believers to be the ‘visible’ form of Jesus to those who are suffering (Mt 25:35-45). Everyone, even non-Christians, can bless or wish others well although believers can also use the Word of God to powerfully impact the lives and situations of others by helping them to understand and

Bless others in Jesus name

apply it. Genuine forgiveness releases blessing as do harmonious family relationships (Ps 133:1,3). Mutual encouragement or blessing is one of the results of Christians meeting together and we bless those outside the church by encouraging and assisting them practically in their endeavours, showing love, and remembering “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Rom 1:11,12; Act 20:35).

By doing our best and acting in a correct manner those we work for will be blessed too, as shown in the case of Joseph in his master’s house and when in prison (Gen 39:2-6,21-23). Laban was blessed through Jacob’s service and the parable of the talents reveals both parties benefited by the wise use of the resources available (Gen 30:27,30; Mt 25:14-23). We too should pray for God’s favour on our employers and their businesses, and we may share in the blessings.

Blessing ourselves:

Not only should we desire and verbalise our wish that others’ lives be enhanced, we also have a responsibility to speak encouraging, positive messages to ourselves. Personalize the principles and statements of Scriptures, such as "And you [I] will know the truth, and the truth will set you [me] free" (Jn 8:32). Similarly substitute your name for the you in the

Every day give thanks for a blessing  you have received

various prayers Paul prayed (eg Eph 1:16-20, 3:14-19; Phil 1:9-11; Col 1:9-12). Declare these over your life with faith and conviction rather than speaking doom and death of destructive attitudes as both uplifting and defeatist mindsets have a powerful effect. "As a person thinks [or calculates] in their heart, so in reality they are" with the thing I feared or consistently gave allegiance to with my thoughts eventuated (Job 3:25; Prov 23:7). Lack of self-esteem is the result of regularly ‘replaying’ or dwelling on negative self-talk in one’s mind. Such detrimental thoughts needs to be replaced with positive, uplifting mental images and messages. We need to be transformed to see ourselves as God sees us, not dwelling on the devil’s warped and damaging opinion of us (Jn 10:10).

When feeling down count your blessings, and it will surprise you what is yours in Christ (Eph 1:3-13).

Jesus said people with any of the nine virtues or qualities in the Beatitudes are blessed or happy because they find their purpose and fulfilment in God (Mt 5:3-12). Jacob declared, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen 32:26). Am I that desirous to receive divine blessing?

Ceremonial blessings:

In the OT family leadership was passed down through the eldest son’s birthright with the father’s blessing (approval and favour) accompanied by the symbolic laying on of hands (Gen 27:4ff, 48:13).

Some churches undertake special activities to seek God’s blessing on particular endeavours, yet the purpose must be to focus our trust in God not on the ritual or any objects used.

1/. Alongside prayers of consecration or dedication, prayers for blessing are offered e.g. when opening a church building, bringing a newborn child into the fellowship, or during a wedding service.

2/. A house blessing prayer asks for protection from hardship and trouble with the Lord’s favour on all activities associated with it.  

See also: beatitudes, blessed or cursed, declare, favour, goodwill, obedience, opposite spirit, protection, sow and reap, thankfulness/thanksgiving, words.