Understanding the Biblical Blessing (part 1)

Do you know what it means to be blessed? We understand being blessed as having favor with someone greater than ourselves. In Christian circles we seek to be blessed by God. And who would not want to be blessed by God?

Being blessed by God means being in His favor. I am considered a notch above the rest. He takes special interest in me. He gives me things He does not give others.

For a number of years the idea of blessing has grown into a widely discussed topic. Not only is it possible to be blessed by God, but we have the ability to speak God’s blessing into the lives of others. Scripture gives evidence of the power of a parent to bless a child.

Yet for all I have seen about such a blessing, there is always one key component that is left out. It is obvious in the Scriptural appearances of the blessing. So why do we ignore it? Missing it leaves us in danger of forfeiting something God intends for us to live in.

About Blessings

The blessing is a sacred act. Though it involves tangible, physical blessings in our lives as we walk this earth, it is also deeply spiritual. This is one reason why you cannot simply walk up to someone on the street and pronounced them blessed. It has to do with authority.

Do not think of authority in the sense of a boss or manager. It is more than just a person who leads or is responsible for making sure that others fulfill their responsibilities. An authority is someone who is authorized to serve as a mediator between two parties.

A parent-child relationship is one of those sacred relationships in the heart of God because of how it mirrors His relationship with us. He is our heavenly Father. When we repent of sin and place our faith in Jesus Christ, we become children of God. Paul wrote to two different churches that God is our “Abba,” a relational word where the meaning could simply mean, “Daddy.”

God wants to bless our lives, just as any good parent wants to see his or her children be blessed. While God wants to bless us, we should want His blessings in our lives. But we can easily misunderstand blessing. It does not mean giant houses and expensive cars, large bank accounts and impressive reputations. God’s blessing is about favor.

The Blessing and the Patriarchs

Our main concern here is not to define the possibilities of God’s blessing or favor. It is about imparting that blessing into the lives of others. The three great patriarchs of Israel received and imparted blessings to following generations.

At first God initiated the blessing on His own. He called to a man named Abram and told him that He would bless him and all the earth would be blessed through Abram (Genesis 12:1-3). Later God expanded that blessing, telling Abram he would possess a Promised Land and would have many descendants (Genesis 15). In a third installment God added that Abram would be the father of many nations, and as a reminder of that promise, God changed his name to Abraham (Genesis 17:1-6).

The next time God renewed this sacred blessing Abraham was not alone. He was up on a mountain with his promised son, Isaac. Abraham brought his son to the mountain to follow God’s direction and offer him as a sacrifice. At the last moment God spoke, stopped Abraham, and then provided a ram for the sacrifice. Because of Abraham’s willingness to obey, God confirmed His promise of blessing (Genesis 22:1-18).

Isaac was Abraham’s heir, and it is almost certain that he knew it. His father would have told him how God promised that Isaac would be born to parents who should not have had children. He probably asked why his name meant laughter, and the story would be retold how both Abraham and Sarah had laughed when God promised them a child.

Remembering God’s word on the mountain, Isaac would easily understand that God’s blessing for his father was meant to be fulfilled through him. As the only heir to all that was Abraham’s, Isaac was the only heir to the blessing of God. Abraham did not pass on the blessing. We are told in Scripture, “And it came to pass, after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac” (Genesis 25:11 NKJV). The uniquely blessing was continued by God Himself.

Isaac was the first to pass on the blessing to the next generation. Maybe he learned about the blessing from his father, Abraham, even though we have no record of it. What we do know is that as he neared the end of his life Isaac’s desire was to impart his blessing to his children. What followed was the great debacle between Jacob and Esau that resulted in the younger brother gaining what was meant for the elder (Genesis 27:1-40). After bringing all his family to Egypt to be saved from famine, Jacob blessed his twelve sons (Genesis 49:1-28), and two of his grandsons (Genesis 48).

Part of the Picture

God’s desire is to bless those who follow him in faith. We are told that when God began to expand His blessing to Abraham it was the result of his faith. “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 NKJV). His faith in God was so great that we are told that Abraham believed if he had to sacrifice Isaac to please God, God would bring him back from the dead in order to fulfill His promises (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Based on these texts we can also see that God’s blessing is transferable. It is possible to bless others, but there must be a connection through authority. An authorized person can impart blessings into those he/she has authority over. A father to his sons. A grandfather to his grandchildren.

But is it as simple as that? Or is there something that we are missing? The ability to impart blessings is only a part of the whole picture. I believe there is a key that reveals a specific condition of the act of blessing that fulfills the biblical pattern. To misunderstand and misuse the power of the blessing can rob us of God’s ability to bless our lives.

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