Friday, May 2, 2014


When we are blessed, we feel special; but when we give a blessing, we become spatial.  Blessing turns a dining room or bedroom into a sacred space. It turns a table or bed into a transport station for the God of the universe to enter our world again and again...Blessing brings joy, warmth, and love. It firms, confirms and reaffirms.*
I snorted in disbelief when I read the words.  I have a strong aversion to cheesiness and sentimentality, and these words in a book I was given (coming soon to a Whatsoever Wednesday near you!) were dripping with both.  Besides, isn't giving a blessing a little weird?

Nevertheless, I couldn't get "The Lord Bless you and Keep you" out of my head.  Puzzled, I turned to Numbers 6 and read the words anew. 

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, 'Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: 'The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.' "So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them."
Cue the sheepishness.  Far from being weird, blessings were a part of Hebrew culture from the beginning, not only here under the Mosaic covenant, but for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob too.  Not only that, but Jesus blessed his apostles, and they passed it on.  The epistles are bursting with blessings! God blessed his children, and He expected them to bless each other as well.

Chocolate chip cookie closeupThe churches I attend are not in the habit of invoking blessings.  Oh, we pray for them all the time, but we don't often speak them over our congregations, our children, or our friends.  Maybe that's why I was so uncomfortable with the idea.  When I read the Bible with blessings in mind, I found that they are sprinkled throughout scripture like chocolate chips in a cookie!  (See, I've embraced cheesiness!)  I thought I would share some of these sweet morsels with you today.

The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121:7-8)

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!  (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.  (Hebrews 13:20,21)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. (II Corinthians 13:14)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7)

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)
May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time (1 Kings 8:56-61).
This is only a small sampling of the blessings, or benedictions as they are sometimes called, found in the Bible.  Far from being cheesy or sentimental, they are a powerful call to God to give peace, grace, and protection to the blessed.

For the last few nights, I've been saying a blessing over my children at night before they go to sleep.  My son closes his eyes and basks in it.  My toddler smiles like the cat that ate the canary.  My oldest daughter rolls her eyes.  I can't blame her; I did the same.  But when I acted like I would skip her blessing, she quickly changed her tune.  My plan is to memorize some of these great blessings of the Bible so that I can call God's power down on my children in a Biblical way every night.

How about you?  Have you ever been blessed or blessed others?  I'd love to hear about it!

*Dr. Rich Melheim in Holding your Family Together, Regal books, 2013

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