So how is it that God can be so good to us? On what basis can God bless us so generously? You and I can anticipate being showered with God’s blessing only because Jesus experienced the full measure of God’s curse in our place. Christ was given what we deserve so that we might be given what Christ deserves. This is the too-good-to-be-trueness of the gospel.
A couple of years ago, social media revolted against the hashtag #blessed.
It often seemed to be employed to brag about expensive vacations or impressive accomplishments under the guise of humility. But home décor stores do not seem to have gotten the message. They have shelves stocked with all kinds of signs and accessories so we can declare to the world — or at least anyone who comes into our houses — that we are indeed “blessed.”
But what do we mean when we say that we are blessed? Is it an expression of gratitude for the things we have, the health we enjoy, or the people we love? Are these things really at the center of what it means to be blessed?
The Source of Blessing
From the first chapter to the last, the Bible’s story is one of blessing — blessing pronounced, blessing promised, blessing anticipated, and blessing experienced. We begin to get a sense of what it really means to be blessed in Numbers 6:22–27:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
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.
So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
These words were not given for Israel’s priests to use to ask God for his blessing, leaving them to wonder whether or not God would give it. Rather, God took the initiative to assure his people of his settled intention to bless them. He seemed to want to make it clear that he intended to be personally involved in their lives as the source of all the goodness they would enjoy.
So the first thing we learn from this blessing is that God is the source of every blessing in our lives. He blesses us by keeping us secure, extending his grace, and flooding our lives with his healing and wholeness. He is fully engaged, fully determined, and fully able to fill our lives with the security, grace, and peace we all long for.
The Substance of Blessing
But he is more than the source of blessing; God is also the substance of blessing. Experiencing God’s blessing is not merely getting good things fromGod. The essence of blessing is getting more of God. It is looking up to see affection and approval radiating from his face. To be blessed is to be confident that God has not and will never ignore or abandon us.
Since more of God himself is the substance of blessing, whenever we ask him to bless us, we’re essentially inviting him to pervade all of the ordinary aspects of our lives. When we ask him to bless our plans, we’re inviting him into them, inviting him to even disrupt or change them, believing that his plans are always better than ours. In asking for his blessing we’re confessing that the outcome of our lives will not be the sum of our grand efforts or accomplishments. Instead, anything and everything good that emerges from our lives will be a result of his sovereign presence in it.
Blessed Even at the Worst Times
If we really believe that God is the substance of blessing, we won’t confess that we’re blessed only in the circumstances that seem good. Instead, when times are hard, and even when the worst things we can imagine are happening to us, we’ll be able to say that we are blessed.