The Lord bless you and keep you / Make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you / The Lord turn His Face toward you / And give you peace
"The Blessing" is an inspiring song that's sweeping across the Church right now. Written just weeks prior to release, it has quickly become an anthem of encouragement and hope for many Christians. The lyrics are primarily taken from two passages of Scripture: the priestly blessing of Aaron in Numbers 6:22-27, where He declares blessings of God over the people in the name of the Lord, and the blessings for God's people written in the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28:6, Exodus 33:14).
What Are God's blessings?
May His favor be upon you / And a thousand generations / And your family and your children / And their children, and their children
We use the language #blessed and "God blessed me" a lot in the Church, but what exactly does that phrase mean? Let's take a look at Psalm 103:2 to find out.
"Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (NIV) The New Living Translation says it this way: "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me."
Both in Scripture and in the English dictionary, you'll find blessing defined as a "benefit." God's blessings are His benefits towards us. God's blessings are the good things He does for us, whether in our spiritual life, circumstances, provision of practical needs etc.
God might give you supernatural peace in the midst of a chaotic situation. He might provide miraculously for a financial need. He could set you free from an area of sin you've been struggling to overcome for a while. He could restore a broken relationship in your life. Those are all expressions of God's blessings. I love that in the rest of Psalm 103 David goes on to list several ways God's benefits and blessings can look in our lives.
When God works in our lives it enriches us in some way or meets a need. Sometimes He even gives us gifts--things that may not be needs necessarily but mean something to us--simply as an expression of His kindness. (Matthew 7:7-11) We have the privilege of praising God for the good things He does in our lives, just like we praise Him for His name, or character, as we see in Psalm 103:1. Both elements are important in our praise of God.
Biblically, I don't think it's wrong to ask for or appreciate God's blessings. I think the problem comes in when we equate God's blessing in our life with material possessions only. Similarly, we get off track when we pridefully believe that our circumstances or what we have in our lives indicates that God favors us more than another person. If we understand the concept of blessing according to Scripture, however, it's a beautiful and significant part of life in relationship with God.
Praying and Declaring God's Blessings
May His presence go before you / And behind you, and beside you / All around you, and within you / He is with you, He is with you
How does the concept of God's blessings impact our prayer lives and the words of encouragement we speak to others?
We start by diving into the Bible. What does God's Word say about His character that He reveals and expresses to us? What does His Word say about His promises, His truths, the ways He says He will work on our behalf?
With that foundation, you and I can ask God for His blessings in our lives and the lives of others--in general or relevant to specific situations we might be facing. We can even declare them over our lives and for others in the name of Jesus, like Aaron the priest did in Numbers 6 and like Kari and Cody do in "The Blessing." I believe God honors it when we speak words of blessing over each other in Jesus' name, led by His Spirit, and in agreement with His Word. (Numbers 6:27; Luke 10:5-6)
As God's children, we praise Him both for His character and for His benefits in our lives. Think about how you can pray for the good works of God in the situations in your own life right now and as you intercede for others.
NRT contributor Jasmin Patterson is a lifelong fan of Christian music who is passionate about helping others connect with Christ. She lives in Kansas City where she serves in college ministry and runs a blog to help seekers and believers discover and live biblical Christianity.
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