Bless. We here in the Deep South really like to use that word. We say “Bless your heart!”, after sneezes we say “Bless you!”, there are signs that people hang in their homes that encourage others to “Bless this mess!” Most of the time when we pray before a meal someone will say “God, please bless this food.” You get the picture.
This year I’ve been writing out and studying the book of Deuteronomy. It is one of my favorite Old Testament books, but truth be told, sometimes it is tough to get through all the laws. There is so much about God’s character that leaps off the pages of that long(ish) book retelling the story of the Israelites’ journey. Most people don’t immediately jump to the book of Deuteronomy due to the fact there are many laws that talk about clothing, food, and being a woman at that time of the month. Some can read it all and wonder what in the world does this have to do with me?
I’m almost at the end of it and I keep writing down major themes that are woven throughout the story of Deuteronomy – themes that can easily fit into the bigger theme found in the Bible – the theme at all points to God and His salvation of us through Jesus alone. Oh, what a wonderful theme that is! One of the recurring themes of this book is how God loves to bless His children.
Wow! To be blessed by the God of the universe is the best blessing we could ever receive. God blesses us in so many ways. I remember singing an old hymn at the little church I grew up in, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.” In the book of Deuteronomy, blessing is always tied with obedience for the Israelites. However, the one consistency in the life of the Israelites was their failure to obey. Does that sound familiar? We, as daughters of the King, should love to bask in the blessing of God. Like standing out in the rain during a downpour and lifting your head to let all the cleansing water flow down over your face: maybe a face burdened with tears, or filled with wrinkles, or sporting laugh lines. This blessing is overwhelming. God knew our ability to disobey and our frequency of it. In the Israelites journey, before Christ, they had the sacrificial system. They were able to worship God through the sacrificing.
Thankfully, we are on this side of the Cross, and Jesus has fulfilled every obedience perfectly and bought our eternal blessing: our salvation. So, knowing this, that we are eternally blessed in Christ and have hope in Him, how we do we bless others. For years I’ve loved the phrase “Blessed to be a blessing.” It is so easy to do with people who are not your family, but how do we do that with our immediate family: you know, those who live with us, see our failures, our bed head in the morning, and see us when we might not look our prettiest (whether on the inside or the outside)?
We can choose to bless others. Blessing others, especially those who live with us, takes choosing. We can choose to snap back at our husbands, or we can choose to bless. This may take some breathing or patience, or waiting to respond, but choosing to bless is always better than snapping back at the person you love the most in life. We can choose to bless our children every day. We can pray over them, hug them, speak truth from the Word with them. This morning I had to apologize to my younger son for not disciplining him with a right spirit. This kind of humility is important for them to see, even at young ages. When you choose to bless your children, they will see the joy of blessing, and will prayerfully return blessings to others.
It is most difficult to bless when we are not being blessed by others. But, that is why we have the Spirit residing in us, enabling us to persevere, control our tongues, show kindness and gentleness. My mister daily bears with me and shows me more gentleness than anyone else I know. Such a great example of God’s character to me. As we daily choose to bless others, we can display the great God that we serve and love.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days.”