Faith

How can I be blessed?

Does our culture have the word blessed all wrong? Blessing is a word we throw out frequently, but do we know what it means? I am blessed, bless the food, have a blessed day, bless her heart, count your blessings, #blessed …

What is a blessing? How can I be blessed? How can we bless the Lord?

Does blessed mean a new car? A big house? Well behaved children? Money? Fame?

In studying the Hebrew and Greek words for “blessed,” it seems blessings are closely tied with “praise.” It’s a beautiful dance of God granting his favor, happiness and presence, and his people offering up praise to him. The ultimate blessing is to be close to God. 

MORE: This text was taken from my new faith-based Instagram account, House of Palms. I hope you’ll come join me over on Instagram for the new weekly topic! FOLLOW @house.of.palms

blessing definition and Hebrew and Greek meanings.jpg

What are blessings in the Bible?

Most blessings have to do with happiness and fulfillment from walking with the Lord! “Barak” is Hebrew for blessing. It is translated literally a “to kneel, to praise.” This word is used 289 times in the Old Testament.

“Esher” is another word for blessing used in the Old Testament. It means “state of happiness” and appears 42 times.

The two Greek words we see in the New Testament are “makarios” and “eulogeo.” Makarios (similar to esher) means happy and favored. Eulogeo (similar to barak) means to praise or to give a good report. This is where we get the word eulogy.

These are some ways we see these words used:

  • happiness
  • praise
  • favor
  • protection
  • prosperity
  • bless the food
  • blessing as an inheritance
  • eulogy, a good report of someone’s life
  • benediction
biblical stories of blessing - abraham

Who was blessed in the Bible?

Let’s look at three people the Bible calls blessed over the next couple days. Question if they would be considered “blessed” today? Biblical blessing does not mean a cushy life without turmoil. It means the presence of God in that very turmoil.

Abraham

God told Abraham “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you [barak], and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Gen 12:2-3 

Abraham was asked to kill his only son who he waited 100 years to be born. An angel stops him last minute (Gen 22).

biblical stories of blessing - david

David

Then Saul said to David, ‘Blessed [barak] be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.’ (1 Samuel 26:25).

David is perhaps most famous for his psalms or songs of praise to the Lord. He rejoices in the Lord freely and teaches us to do the same. But he wrote them running for his life from the king. His best friend was killed. His first son from an adulterous affair died. His other children were full of strife and discord to say it nicely.

biblical stories of blessing - mary

Mary

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor [eulogeo] with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-31) Elizabeth was filled with the spirit and says about Mary, “And blessed [makarios] is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary had to face humiliation being a pregnant, unwed teenager in an ancient culture. Her reputation was ruined. She was very poor. She and Joseph couldn’t even afford the proper sacrifice when Jesus was born and offered two pigeons instead of a lamb (Luke 2:24). She was blessed because she didn’t see it this way. She sang a song to the Lord in praise!

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord

What does scripture say about blessings?

They Bible says you will be blessed by: 

◽️Seeking the Lord (Psalm 119:2).

◽️Trusting in the Lord (Jer 17:7-8).

◽️Applying the Bible to your life (Proverbs 16:20).

◽️Repenting and being baptized (Acts 2:38-39).

◽️Being a doer of the word, not just a hearer (James 1:25).

◽️Not repaying evil with evil (1 Peter 3:9).

◽️Tithing (Malachi 3:10).

◽️Being a good steward of God’s gifts (Matt 25:21).

Interesting fact: Revelation is the only book that offeres a blessing for anyone who reads the book aloud! “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the revolutionary beatitudes (supreme blessings) Jesus gives during his Sermon on the Mount.

Beatitudes - Matthew 5 - Sermon on the Mount - blessed are the poor in spirit

Who did Jesus say is blessed?

In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus gives the beatitudes, which means supreme blessing, to an unlikely group of people. The people he was talking to were poor, hurting, some ill, and not considered important by society.

Jesus modeled his sermon after other Jewish blessings and proverbs, but with a radical twist. Jewish society had come to think that God was with you if you were wealthy and of high status. (Sound familiar?) Instead what Jesus told these hurting people was that in fact the poor in spirit and meek would inherit the earth!

Can you imagine how the crowd must have received this revolutionary word?! What hope it must have given them!

Here is the message that our savior had for the broken then and the broken now:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

a blessing is something that brings you closer to God

What is a blessing from God?

All good things are from God. Everything belongs to God. Your money is not your own, your possessions are not your own, even the very breath in your nostrils is not your own. He gave you the skills to hold the job that you do. He gives you the ability to see, the ability to talk the ability to think.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

A blessing is also something that brings you closer to God.

Does this blow your mind like it does mine? For me, it completely changes what I view as a blessing. In these terms for my own life, Hurricane Irma was a blessing. Infertility was a blessing. Waiting years in separate countries before Marcello and I could be married was a blessing. Financial hardships were a blessing. Difficult relationships and even losing loved ones were a blessing. Why? Because they all drew me near to God, dropped me to my knees in prayer, forced me to depend on Him when I wouldn’t have otherwise. These are the places of tremendous spiritual growth and maturity. How have you been blessed through hardship?

why are there evil people with many blessings

Why are there evil people with many “blessings”?

Part of the answer to that is Satan is leaving them right where they are — complacent and prideful. If they were to be stripped of their job title, evicted from the mansion or humiliated publicly, if they were knocked all the way to the bottom they might have to look up. They might search for answers. And when people are searching for God they will find him. (Deut. 4:29) But when people think they have earned everything and got to their position by their own merit, and not the grace of God, they don’t need a God. They essentially are a god.

Not having worldly things and what society tells you are the signs of success does not mean you are not blessed. In fact you might be more blessed! Those who have less to lose are quicker to turn to a savior. For if you have all the earthly treasure, would you truly walk away from it?

When we read about a rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus in Matthew 19, he couldn’t do it. Why? Because when he asked Jesus how to obtain eternal life, “Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me. When the young man heard this, he went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

bless the lord oh my soul

How can we bless the Lord?

This one has always confused me until I gave it a little bit of research. How can mortal, sinful creatures bless the Lord? The word bless used in this way (“barak” in Psalms) means to praise the Lord, to kneel before the Lord! We bless the Lord when we praise his good name for all he has done. For he is holy!

◽️“Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever.” 1 Chronicles 29:10

A blessing is not meant to stop with you; it is meant to pour through you onto others.

Why does God bless us?

God blesses us because he loves us and so that we can bless others. A blessing is not meant to stop with you; it is meant to pour through you onto others.

This concept adds another layer onto the definition. What have you been blessed with? It could be money, it could be spiritual wisdom, it could be a skill. How are you using that to bless others?

We can’t hoard all our blessings and keep them for ourselves. God has chosen for us to live in community and often tends to work in our lives through each other.

When you freely give what has been given to you it will bring infinitely more happiness than keeping it all for yourself!

When he blesses us he intends us to use our material things, wisdom, happiness for the good of others. We are to share our blessings!

◽️“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

may the lord bless and keep you - benediction

What is a benediction blessing?

“Benedictions are found at the close of some New Testament epistles (2 Cor 13:14 and Eph 6:23-24). Benedictions, though brief, offer words of assurance or precepts designed to bring joy, peace, comfort, and security to those who place their trust in God. — @gotquestionsministeries

I would love to pray one over you!

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.

— Numbers 6:24-26

heaven will be the ultimate blessing

Heaven will be the ultimate blessing!

If a blessing is the favor and presence of God, then heaven will be the ultimate blessing. Sin can no longer keep us from him and we will never be separated again!

And even more, the Bible says we will have rewards in heaven. It’s a topic for another day, but a very interesting one!

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

I hope this series has challenged you to see blessings in a new light! Have you been blessed by God’s presence in you life?

MORE: This text was taken from my new faith-based Instagram account, House of Palms. I hope you’ll come join me over on Instagram for the new weekly topic! FOLLOW @house.of.palms

How can I be blessed?

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