There is benefit and power in blessing
Published 4:56 am Friday, April 7, 2006
We greatly undervalue the power of words. What we might think of as small talk, chit-chat, or filler has more impact than we could imagine.
The most neglected words to speak or to appreciate when heard are words of blessing. Some presidents of the United States end their speeches with, “God bless you and God bless America.” This pronounced blessing has been maligned and minimized by many, but a statement of blessing has great power.
As the nation of Israel was assuming their identity and culture in the days prior to the scheduled conquest of Canaan, God instructed Moses to teach Aaron and his sons how to speak blessing on the people. The blessing in the Old Testament book of Numbers, chapter 6, verses 24-26 was, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” The reason for this spoken blessing is stated in verse 27, “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
The power was not in the priests, the sons of Aaron; the power was in the name of the Lord.
God is jealous about His name. When God speaks of Himself as “the Lord,” He is speaking of Jehovah Elohim, the self-existent One Who reveals Himself. The mighty power of God is also carried in His name. To speak blessing in the name of the Lord has benefit and power. We should be like Jacob when he wrestled with the angel as recorded in Genesis, chapter 32, verse 26. The wrestling match had been going on for hours and it was almost daybreak. The angel said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” Jacob replied, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” The angel did bless Jacob and Jacob lived in that blessing the rest of his life.
We do not make our own way in this life; everything is of and through God. God is gracious and full of mercy. He desires more than anything to bless His people. When somebody says to you, “The Lord bless you and keep you,” soak it up and go your way recognizing that you have been lifted up by having the name of the Lord put on you. It is not senseless liturgy to have a minister of the gospel recite the blessing of the Lord on people.
As we go from being blessed, we must realize the power we have to bless others. In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, chapter 25, verse 11, the writer declares, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Good, timely words are a treasure. Proverbs 15:23 echoes the thought, “A word spoken in due season, how good it is!”
It was said of Jesus Christ as Isaiah prophesied of His earthly ministry in Isaiah, chapter 50, verse 4, “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in due season to him who is weary.” Life can weary the best of us, but the right words at the right time can lift us above our circumstances.
Every person will stand before God and answer for themselves. There will not be the excuse, “Nobody encouraged me,” but be assured our lives are dramatically influenced by the words we have heard from others be they words of blessing or words of cursing. Generally speaking, a child who is blessed and affirmed will be better suited for life than a child who has been wounded by a continual barrage of negative words.
We all live in the blessing of God. We must seek out those in authority who will speak to us and put the name of the Lord on us. We must say, “I will not leave until you bless me!” Then we must speak words of blessing to others.
Do not worry that some may think you are a little strange as you say, “The Lord bless you.” Just keep on doing it. Put the name of the Lord on everybody who crosses your path. We cannot get too much of God.