Blessing is a frequently used but seldom understood word. Today, we explore five purposes for God’s blessing. What does it mean to be blessed and what is the significance of blessing? We may sing hymns reminding us to count our blessings, or pray, asking God to bless and meet the needs of our family and friends.
In North America, we naturally acquaint blessing with the “extra” things in life: a beautiful home, a flourishing career, a new car (or at least one that gets you from point A to point B), or increased finances. Although being blessed may include these things it encompasses so much more than material possession.
Lately, God has slowed my pace, giving me opportunity to count my blessings and weigh the impact of blessing on me and others. I easily remember not-so-distant times of tight budgets and seasons of waiting for God’s provision or protection. Recently, however, I’m overwhelmed by His blessings — a peaceful and warm home, loving family, a thriving church community, authentic friendships, enjoyable work, good health, and so much more. What money could never buy; God’s blessing provides.
“Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration. How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness you’ve done for me?”
Psalm 103:2 TPT
Whether God’s blessing measures in mini or maxi “miracles of kindness,” celebration forms the only fitting response. There is purpose in all God’s blessing.
1. To Provide
The Hebrew word barak means “to bless, cause to kneel, or greet,” suggesting the bending of the knee to receive a blessing. We find a similar Greek word eulogeo in the New Testament meaning “to bless or speak well of.”
The Abrahamic blessing says,
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
The pictographic translation of bless portrays the prince who comes out of the house.
Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, fulfilled this picture of bless in the completest sense of the word. The Son of God, the Holy Prince of Heaven, came from His “house” to pay for the sin that kept us from the Father, bestowing ultimate blessing on humanity. Jesus became a curse so that we might receive God’s blessing now and forever.
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
2. To Reach Generations
When Abraham’s son Isaac blessed Jacob, his son, we discover the generational aspect of blessing. God intends for His blessing to result in prosperity and success to be transferred to future generations. The word prosper literally means “to help along the road or to succeed in reaching.” Isn’t that what we all want for our children and our children’s children?
“May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.”
In Deuteronomy 28, we see clearly how God’s blessing produces promotion, fruitfulness, triumph over enemies, holiness, and “abundant prosperity.” (vs 1-14) Those aren’t my words, they’re His. Blessing and helping people along the road to succeed go hand in hand.
To receive these blessings requires obedience to God, however. Salvation is freely given through Jesus Christ, but the blessing of God spills over only through obedience.
The extended meaning of barak, to bless, implies the giving of something of value to another who kneels out of respect. As we “kneel” in obedient submission to God, He provides for our needs in every dimension of life. In the Bible, the greater blesses the lesser. He is Master. We are to be His obedient servants.
3. To Achieve God’s Design
Scholars point to the importance of the first occurrence of a word found in the Bible. On the fifth day of creation, God blesses the fish and birds to be fruitful and increase. (Gen1:22)
On the sixth day, after creating Adam and Eve, God blesses them as well.
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the seas, and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ “
Through blessing, God releases divine purpose over humanity to produce and have dominion — increasing and managing creation well. Through God’s blessing, we achieve His full purposes for us.
The blessing of God attracts other people, causing them to wonder in amazement. God’s grace convinces people of how wonderful He is, leading them to acknowledge and believe in Him. (Rom 2:4)
“God blesses us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].”
Awe, reverence, and wonder follow God’s blessing.
4. To Cover
God commanded the priests, Aaron and his descendants, to speak this familiar blessing over the people:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Though many Christians might easily recite this portion, the following verse appears unfamiliar. Today, it caused me to pause and consider.
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
What a powerful statement! Invoking a blessing in the name of the LORD releases everything His name represents, like a divine covering over those being blessed. The LORD, Yahweh, identifies God as One who loves righteousness and hates sin. All those under His blessing and bearing His name also love what He loves and hate what He hates. The LORD, our God, loves to bless!
Though this specifically speaks of Israelites, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that all who believe in Jesus and receive Him are of Israel. (Rom 9:6-8)
A blessing spoken in His name both covers and imparts.
5. To Share
God’s blessing comes both in earthly and heavenly form, with both earthly and heavenly function. Not everyone experiences the tangible blessings of God here and now, but with certainty, we everyone will throughout eternity.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
As wonderful and appreciative as we may be with our earthly blessings, nothing compares to those that await every believer. Whether we see it or not, “Jesus Christ . . . has blessed us!” Past tense! He has already made every spiritual blessings ours.
As Christians, Jesus calls us to be a source of His blessing to the world, especially to those who treat us unfairly or cruelly. No one merits God’s favor and grace, yet He pours it upon us. As freely as we have received, God asks us to give to others — even the most undeserving.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
God blesses so that we will be His hand of blessing to others. Whether we feel like there is overflow in our lives or not, God calls us to look with grace and mercy on others, blessing through words, actions, and material possessions.
Count Your Blessings
As we bless others, God entrusts us with greater and greater blessings ourselves. He knows who the clear channels of His blessing are and desires to use us to extend blessing to others.
I find that when I begin to count my blessings, my attitude toward God and others begins to shift and soften. Gratitude opens my heart and hand to count those whom God longs for me to bless as part of His blessing.