If you saw the picture above and read that Irish “blessing,” I hope you got a chuckle out of it. Of course, we shouldn’t hope for our enemies to turn their ankles…I only hope for the non Big-Ten teams in the NCAA tournament to turn their ankles. That’s not much to ask is it?
The word “blessing” in the New Testament is from a Greek word which really is “a eulogy,” meaning “to speak well of” someone. When we bless God, we speak well of Him and we seek His glorification. When we bless those around us, we are speaking well of them and wishing God’s favor upon them. Sometimes we wait until the official “eulogy” to speak well of someone, but God calls us to bless or “eulogize” people today while they still live.
A more traditional Irish blessing goes something like this:
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Blessing is most definitely a Biblical concept, but more than a concept, it is a command from God. God wants us to speak well of others and to invoke through prayer His favor upon others. As men of God, we are called to bless God and bless others.
In the Old Testament, God instructed the priests to bless the people in this way:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The LORD bless you, and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.’ So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them” (Numbers 6:22-27).
Psalm 20 is another wonderful example of a blessing as David calls for God’s favor upon others.
In the New Testament, we also are called to bless God and bless others. Specifically, Jesus calls us to “bless” our enemies and to pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14). James adds that our mouths are a fountain that should not be sending forth both bitter and sweet water, meaning that we should not bless God in one breath and curse our fellow man in the next (James 3:8-12).
One more thing about blessing: Jesus was sent to bless us, but how? He was sent to bless us (call God’s favor upon us) by delivering us from our sins. Notice in the passage below that is how Jesus fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham.
“It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” (Acts 3:25-26).
Today, ask for God’s strength to use your mouth and your words as a blessing to Him and to others.