Rob Briggs – Chaplain, Logan United Christian Soccer Club
With the colder months now announcing winter, and along with it the season of colds and flu, it is common to hear people sneezing, coughing and spluttering around us. How often do we respond with a ‘God Bless’? Additionally, that expression is often used as a parting comment, a farewell, and sometimes a greeting. Some even use the German word, ‘gazuntite‘ which means good health.
How easy is it to wave goodbye to someone and throw in a God bless as they turn and go on their way? I think that most of us do it without thinking what it really means to receive or invoke a blessing from the Almighty. I believe that it is mostly a cultural thing, one that has little or no connection with a heavenly thought.
So, what does it mean to be blessed by God? In Genesis 12:2-3 when God was speaking to Abram (Abraham) we read one of the earliest uses of a blessing:
I will make of you a great nation and will bless you. I will make your name respected, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, those who curse you I will curse; all the families of the earth will be blessed because of you.”
Interestingly, in the Hebrew language the word for blessing comes from the root for the word for ‘knee’. While God is not saying He will bend His knee, the verse could logically be translated into ‘I will serve those who serve you’. This brings to mind when Jesus wrapped himself in a towel and got down on his knees to wash the feet of the disciples:
After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. John 13:12-16
Reading further on in this verse in Genesis, it talks about cursing those who curse you. Looking at the Hebrew language again here, the first use of ‘curse’ comes from a root that means ‘to make light of someone or something heavy’. But the second use of curse comes from a very different root which means to ‘utterly destroy’. So, the full translation could read ‘I will serve those who will serve you and the ones who make light of you I will utterly destroy.’ That was God’s promise to protect the Israelites. I firmly believe that God’s promise is just as true for us today as it was for Abraham. He will protect us from any harm including the attacks of the evil one.
So let us be qualified to receive the promise of God’s protection, to ‘be Blessed’ while being cautious not to ‘make light’ use of our language. Therefore, I urge you to always be heavenly minded as you communicate with, and interact with others, both within our families and in the wider community.
Be Blessed to be a Blessing.
Rob (Bob) Briggs
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