“… lifting His hands to heaven, He blessed them.” Luke 24:50b (NLT)
There’s power in a blessing! If you’ve ever been blessed, you know what I’m talking about. A blessing can change a life. It was a common practice in the Bible that, unfortunately, has become less common today. What if we revived the practice of blessing others? What would that look like? How would we do it? What’s involved in a blessing?
A blessing invokes the activity of God on behalf of another. It’s more than just a flippant expression like “Bless you” or even “God bless you.” It’s more. In Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV), Moses is told by God to invoke a blessing on the people of Israel as he led them through the wilderness. Look at the blessing he gave them …
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.’ Say to them: ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.”‘
How would you feel if someone said that to you? Imagine them looking you in the eye and saying, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace! It would melt your heart!
Dallas Willard explains the meaning of the blessing like this, “The Lord bless you.” That means ‘God bring good consistently into your life.’ “The Lord bless you and keep you.” That means ‘God protect you. God build around you His safekeeping. The blood of Jesus and the Spirit of Christ be over you and keep you.’ When you add, “The Lord be gracious to you,” you’re asking for the favor of God in their life.
Receiving a blessing like this meets a real need in our lives. It affirms our value to God and grounds us securely in His love giving us confidence and hope knowing that the Lord watches over us with a smile on His face. It enables us to experience His peace in our hearts. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom, meaning much more than the absence of worry and stress. It involves a quietness of heart, spiritual health, prosperity, sufficiency for the demands of life and as Warren Wiersbe puts it, “the kind of spiritual well-being that rises above circumstances.”
For a blessing to have power it must not only involve a spoken word, but also be felt. Don’t rush the words. Speak them from the heart. A message from the heart always hits the heart. Words have greater meaning with eye contact. Look the one you are blessing in the eyes when you speak. Mark tells us that when Jesus blessed the little children, He took them into His arms and blessed them. Matthew adds that He laid his hands on their heads.
In an article by Lifeway, Rick Ezell writes, “Paul Tournier, the late Swiss psychiatrist-theologian, discovered a recurring psychological problem in his therapy in Switzerland. He called it ‘The Unblessed Child.’ It had nothing to do with the gifts of the child, or the ability of the child, or the opportunities in life the child enjoyed, or even material possessions. It had to do with children not being blessed, not feeling approved by his or her parents, feeling somehow, they did not measure up, that somehow they never really pleased their parents. … Tragically people grow up in families and never receive a blessing, or live with a marriage partner but never feel their approval, or go through an entire school year and not feel accepted by teachers, or even worse, their peers.”
I want to challenge you to change that. Let’s start a revolution of blessing! Try it today. Begin with those closest to you. You’ll discover that you can’t give a blessing without receiving one.
Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes with Elevation Worship have popularized this blessing passage with one of the most worshipful songs of our day. You may want to sit back for just a moment and soak in the blessing as you listen to this song and then share the blessing with someone today. CLICK HERE.