Numbers 6:24-26 ESV
Mark 10:13-16 ESV
Joel 2:23 ESV
Joel 2:24 ESV
Joel 2:25 ESV
Joel 2:26 ESV
Joel 2:27 ESV
Joel 2:28-31 ESV
Joel 2:32 ESV
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
Luke 6:38 ESV
Philippians 4:7 ESV
Offering a blessing to another and receiving a blessing reminds us of God’s favor.
A blessing reminds us that God loves us.
A blessing tells us that God’s hand of protection covers us.
Numbers 6:24-26 tells us, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
I have had the privilege of worshipping in churches that practice giving and receiving blessings. I love giving and receiving blessings but in doing so on a regular basis we need to be aware that as we give a blessing or receive a blessing we do not take it for granted.
The best way to avoid taking it for granted is to take time to pray before you give a blessing. That does two things…it reminds us that the blessing given comes from God and a blessing received comes from God.
The giving and receiving of blessings connects the giver and receiver to what is holy and set apart.
Blessing another and receiving a blessing is a God moment.
In Mark 10:13-16 Jesus did a remarkable and very unusual blessing to a most unusual group. We read, “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”
Jesus BLESSED the children. We are not so shocked by that in today’s culture because in many places we have a high regard for children. Especially in Western cultures that are future oriented we see the children AS our future.
Children at the time of Jesus were not so highly regarded. That’s why the disciples were trying to protect Jesus from being “bothered” by the children.
That’s also why it was a shocking moment when Jesus intentionally interacted with the children and actually individually held each child in order to bless them. Jesus held each child and looked into their heart. He gave each individual child a blessing.
I think because Jesus is God, He could see past, present, and future of each child. I believe the blessing Jesus gave changed each child.
I also believe when we bless a child today in the name of Jesus, the same blessing is given to that child.
In Joel 2:23-31 the prophet wrote about seven blessings of atonement. Atonement there are seven blessings of atonement in Joel 2:23, Joel 2:24, Joel 2:25, Joel 2:26, Joel 2:27, Joel 2:28-31, and Joel 2:32. Atonement refers to the “needed reconciliation between sinful mankind and the holy God. This reconciliation is possible through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (https://www.christianity.com/wiki/salvation/what-is-atonement-biblical-meaning-and-definition.html).
The first blessing of atonement is found in Joel 2:23 “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.”
The second atonement found in Joel 2:24 says, “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.”
The third atonement found in Joel 2:25 tells us, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.”
The fourth atonement in Joel 2:26 says, “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
The fifth atonement in Joel 2:27 declared, “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
The sixth and seventh atonement refers to future events. The last two blessings begin with the words, ‘and it shall come to pass’.
The sixth atonement found in Joel 2:28-31 tells us, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.”
The seventh atonement found in Joel 2:32 tells us, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.”
The blessing of the seven atonements ends with an assurance of God’s unending love and favor for all who believe. God does not force us to believe but rather God urges us to come of our own accord.
That brings us to a blessing found in Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the
stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
The great blessing of God comes to us when we trust God and rely on God’s provision even in difficult times.
Two New Testament blessings, one from the Gospels and one from Paul and Timothy’s letter to the church at Philippi bless us by reminding us OF God’s gifts:
Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Memorize
Choose one scripture from today’s blessings to memorize or if memorization is difficult to you, write it on a piece of paper and post it where you will see it daily. You WILL be blessed!
In God, Deborah