Hello, and welcome to 10-Minute Bible study!
We are studying Psalm 1:1-3 in this series, which, if you’ll recall from last week’s introduction, opens with the word blessed. So before we get into studying that passage, we’re going to spend the first few weeks digging in deep to the meaning of the word blessed!
To start my research, I wanted to find out the Biblical definition of the word blessed. As it turns out, there are four words translated blessed in our Bibles, two in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. When we find the word bless, blessed, or blessing, a form of one these four words is being used:
Old Testament (Hebrew)
New Testament (Greek)
We’re going to start by studying barak and eulogeo before we move on to esher and makarios in a couple of weeks.
So here we go!
Barak and eulogeo both reference a state of being divinely favored and consecrated to God. The actual definition of barak is “to kneel, to bless,” so the word also implies a gesture of praise and submission. The definition of eulogeo is “to speak well of, to praise, to bless.” Every time the word blessing is used in the Bible it is a form of barak or eulogeo, which means that every blessing in Scripture is an outward symbol of divine favor and consecration to God.
These two words are used throughout Scripture to describe God, people, and even things. When a thing was blessed, it meant that thing was consecrated to God for divine purposes. When these words are used to describe God, they refer to praise. God can be barak and eulogeo blessed by people through words or gestures of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, etc. What an awesome concept to think that we, mere humans, can bless God!
Now that we’ve been introduced to the meaning of these two words, let’s start answering our questions!
What does it mean to be blessed?
Oh here we go! This is somewhat of a loaded question, and we’re going to tackle it head-on.
We’ve merely scratched the surface of the word blessed, but we do know barak and eulogeo blessedness means being divinely favored and consecrated to God. Even a quick Google search gives these results:
Blessed - “made holy, consecrated”
Blessing - “God’s favor and protection”
Does this surprise you as much as it did me?!
Honestly, I think the majority of us would have described being blessed as “having blessings.” Would you agree with that statement? We consider the good things in our lives to be blessings - and they are!
In the Old Testament, when a person or group of people were barak blessed, it usually resulted in the physical bestowal of good things and/or favorable circumstances. These good things were blessings. They were an outward symbol of divine favor and consecration to God.
It’s probably safe to say most people feel as though they have been blessed by good things which have been physically bestowed upon them - love, family, children, a home, friendships, education, a job opportunity, etc. But what about the things that don’t feel good to us - can they be blessings too? And what about good things that are bestowed upon people who aren’t consecrated to God? Are all people blessed, and are all blessings from God?
We’re going to answer these questions in bits and pieces, and we’ll start here...
Are all people blessed?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Let’s find out why!
The first time God blessed man in the Bible is found in Genesis 1:28. We’ll start with verse 27 to get the whole context:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God blessed [barak] them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28, NASB)
From the very beginning, God blessed mankind. All people have been divinely favored because we have been created in the image of God, we have been given authority over the other parts of creation to meet our physical needs, and we have the potential to be fruitful and multiply. (Stay tuned for next week because we’re going to dive into that phrase!)
Now let’s take a look at the third time God speaks a blessing over man in the Bible (the second time was Noah...in case you were wondering:). In Genesis 12:1-3 God blessed Abraham, and He ended His blessing with these words:
...all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
This verse says ALL peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham. How? Because Jesus Christ came from the bloodline of Abraham, and Jesus Christ was God’s ultimate blessing available for all mankind!
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10, NIV)
Mankind is favored by God because He created us in His image, He loves us, and He sent His Son to die for us!
However, only those who accept the blessing of Jesus Christ are consecrated to God and can receive the greatest blessing of all - eternal life with God (Romans 6:23). And only those who accept the blessing of Jesus Christ are recipients of the fullness of spiritual blessings. (Once again, stay tuned for next week!)
When we accept the gift of Jesus Christ, we are blessed - consecrated to God for divine purposes!
Ok, now let’s circle back around to the question we posed earlier about blessings: What about the things that don’t feel good to us - can they be blessings too? And what about good things that are bestowed upon people who aren’t consecrated to God? Are all blessings from God?
First I think we have to tackle our idea of what we consider a blessing. If a blessing refers to the bestowal of something good or favorable, then what is “good?”
I want to propose something here: God’s view of “good” and our view of “good” are sometimes two very different things.
The way God chooses to bless you may look completely different than the way He chooses to bless someone else. Furthermore, what you view as good for you, God may not view as good for you - and visa versa.
What is good to God may not always feel good to us because God is seeing and planning from the vantage point of eternity!
Let’s take a quick look at a few examples:
We’ll start with Jesus. After Jesus’ resurrection, He says in John 16:7, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” I’m sure it didn’t feel good to the disciples that Jesus was going away, but the blessing of the Holy Spirit came because He did!
Paul, in Acts 21-28, was arrested in Jerusalem, went through various legal trials, and was eventually sent as a prisoner to Rome. This was a trial, in every sense of the word, which was orchestrated by God to provide Paul the opportunity to preach the gospel in Rome, which had been a desire of Paul’s heart (and God’s) for many years. It was a blessing to Paul, to God, to the people of Rome, and to many people through the furthering of the gospel!
None of the original disciples had riches on this side of Heaven. But were their lives outward testaments of their consecration to God? Absolutely yes!! They experienced Jesus, they were the first to receive the Holy Spirit, and God used them to begin the spread of the gospel and start His Church.
After you’ve lived a little while you begin to realize the blessings that were disguised as rejections, failures, hardships, or sacrifices.
Last year my family moved away from the place we had called home for 15 years, onto hundreds of acres, to a small town, and into the life of cattle ranching. We left everything that was comfortable behind to pursue the plan God has for us. And, in all honesty, it’s been hard!
We’ve mostly finished remodeling the old house that was on the property (blessing;); but oh, the issues we’ve had. The septic systems have stopped working twice - for multiple days at a time. It took two months to be able to drink the water from our well, and some days we still lose water altogether. I got stuck in the mud in my own “driveway,” and my husband had to pull me out with the atv. And those are only a few examples!
I find myself in this season thanking God for things like being able to use my bathroom and having water to take a shower, do laundry, and wash the dishes. I’m not even kidding...how crazy is that?! Six months ago these things never crossed my mind. My idea of blessings have shifted with my circumstances.
The discomfort has been overwhelming, and the cost has been great. But I can step outside and be reminded of the blessing that is and the blessing that is to come. I know this place is a blessing, even though it may not always feel like one right now.
*Side note: Nothing evil or sinful is ever from God - abuse, addiction, etc. So I’m not talking about those things. But oh, what an amazing God we serve. He promises that not only will He never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) and that He will heal our brokenness (Psalm 147:3), but He goes even further than that. In Romans 8:28 God promises that He “works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” When He says He will work ALL things together for our good, He means it! There is absolutely nothing that happens in our lives that God can’t heal and work good out of. Joseph said it perfectly when he said this to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
We’re going to stop here for now and pick up the second part of this lesson in a couple of days. Until then, I want to challenge you to truly think on these things, and ask yourself these questions...
1. Have I accepted God’s gift of Jesus Christ? If so, do I understand the awesomeness of the fact that I am consecrated to God for divine purposes?!
*If your answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” you can change that right now! You can pray something like this:
God, thank You for creating me and loving me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay the price for my sin. Forgive me of my sins, and make me new. From this moment forward, I give you my life. Thank you for saving me!
If you prayed that prayer for the first time or the first time in a long time, please let us know! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help you get connected to a church in your area if you don’t already have one!
2. In what ways has God blessed me with good and favorable things or circumstances?
3. Can I recall situations in my life which were (or are) blessings disguised as hardships, rejections, trials, or sacrifices?