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What does it mean to bless? Part 1 the power of blessing in words

Num 6:22-27 The Priestly Blessing

22 The Lord said to Moses,

23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 “‘“The Lord bless you

and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face shine on you

and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord turn his face toward you

and give you peace.”’

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

many of us have enjoyed the song of 'the blessing' coming from different countries around the world. In God's ways there is a long time tradition of blessing, think of Jacob blessing his children. They weren’t the best, but Jacob and God knew them and made prophetic utterances over them, predicting their futures in the generations to come, that word once given could not be taken back, think of Jacob himself stealing Esau's blessing years before.

Our Lord Jesus blessed the children when the disciples wanted to shoo them away, but Jesus saw it as important.

However, have you ever stopped to ask – what does it really mean? Is it about things going well, in the right direction? Prosperity – health, wealth and what not? God’s favour? What is it exactly? We can easily agree that it’s a very positive thing, but when we try to pin the concept of blessing down to a definition, it suddenly seems surprisingly slippery. We talk about blessing all the time as believers, but is it possible that we don’t really know exactly what we’re talking about?

We find blessing right at the beginning of the Bible:And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22)So this fits in with the idea of prospering – fruitfulness and multiplication. Then we see in verse 28:And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”God blesses the animals and then he blesses Adam and Eve. But the blessing is a bit different… yes there is fruitfulness and multiplication in the blessing, but also permission and authority to subdue and have dominion over the rest of creation.

Right at the end of the creation process, God creates and blesses Sabbath:So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:3) . Here breaking the pattern of blessing being about multiplying and bearing fruit – what does it mean that God “blesses” Sabbath? He blesses it and makes it holy, as he is holy. It is his special day of rest, mirroring his coming to a rest after the work of creation. He sets apart a day of rest to be a blessing to us.

A Definition of Blessing by Philip Litle, 'Essentially, blessing is God giving power to something or somebody to do that which they are designed or intended to do. The creatures were supposed to fill the earth and multiply – so God gave them his blessing – his power – to do it. Human beings were also supposed to multiply numerically, but also to take care of the rest of creation. And God gave them power to do that too. When it comes to Shabbat, God imbues it with his power to be all it was designed to be – a holy day of rest, connected to God. Blessing is God granting the power to do what he wants us and intends us to do'.

When God speaks it has life, it’s imbibed with his creative life so it has power to make his words come true. There is a lot in the Power of words, in proverbs it says 'life and death is in the power of the tongue'. Have you found your spiritual life by trusting in the words of promise God has given to us?

Humanly when you hear a lot of moaning it pulls the rug out from underneath you, robs you of confidence but God speaks positive words over us, his word brings us to a place of rest from all our own striving to achieve God's favour; spiritually we rest when we realise and accept that our blessing is a result of his promise and his acting on our behalf in the Lord Jesus.

What words do we use when speaking to others? do we bless and build up or do we criticise and undermine, do we impart life or death? it can be quite a spiritual battle! may we blessed by God so we can pass blessing on to others with words of life and encouragement

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