‘The Blessing’: God’s Gracious Character in Action

Once in a while a praise song will grip me so tightly or touch me so deeply, I find myself playing it over and over again. “Knowing You” (Graham Kendrick) was like that when it first came out. So was “No Higher Calling” (Jonathan Butler). It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, this INTJ can get very un-Spocklike, and I start to reach for the tissues.

Lately I find myself repeatedly going back to “The Blessing” as sung by Cody Carnes and Kari Jobe. It was the song of the week last week on This New Life. (I also like Jobe’s inspiring rendition of “Revelation Song” and “Forever.”) Cue the waterworks. 

“Blessing” is one of those words that believers use a lot, perhaps without a whole lot of thought. The Hebrew word for “bless” (bārak) has two general meanings. 

First, it can mean to express one’s gratitude and admiration or praise—normally to a superior, such as to God or a king. That’s the sense in Psalm 103:1a: “Bless the Lord, O my soul (= I would like to express to the Lord my gratitude and praise).”

Second, “bless” can mean to be benevolent to someone, to cause good things to happen to, or to give good gifts—normally to a subordinate. That’s the sense in Psalm 67:1: “May God be gracious to us and bless us (= be benevolent to us) and make his face to shine upon us.”

As Clair Davis writes, “While blessing can refer to human praise and worship to God in acknowledgement of his provision (Gen 24:48; Deut 8:10), a more specific emphasis is on the blessings themselves, the gracious character of God in giving them, and also on the identification of those who receive God’s favor.” 

The Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:22-27 is one of the more famous blessings, often spoken as a benediction at the end of a worship service. The text reads:

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 

“The Lord bless you 
and keep you; 
the Lord make his face shine upon you 
and be gracious to you; 
the Lord turn his face toward you 
and give you peace.” ’ 

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Below is Carnes and Jobe in action with this particular text (and a few others). If the waterworks begin for you, too, enjoy the moment. Either way, may you be blessed as you listen.

Image Credit: pexels.com.

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