Empty Benedictions

When God said in Genesis 12 that we will become a blessing to others, I’m pretty sure He wasn’t talking about us sending Facebook, email and text messages with a “God Bless You” clincher at the end.

No sir, I’m guessing it’s more than that.

The curious thing is that most Christians have gotten so used to throwing around lots of “God Bless Yous” everyday that most of the time it sounds like an empty benediction, devoid of power, spirituality and conviction. Not that I don’t want to hear it, I mean, if you ask me, I would like to be blessed everyday. Everybody does, too. But the question is, to be blessed with what, exactly?

The way we use the phrase today, “God bless you” is like wishing someone luck, safety, long life, good health, and all the other positive vibes in between. These are all good stuff. But what’s really amiss is that we seldom pause to consider that this pronouncement is actually rooted in the Aaronic Benediction that is NEVER, ever taken lightly in ancient Israel. In Numbers 6: 24- 26, only the high priests would utter this very solemn, powerful invocation:

“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.”‘

More than the solemn tone of a deeply spiritual benediction, the blessedness that is invoked in “God bless you” implies our need for blameless living. In other words, when you tell someone “God bless you,” you are actually telling that person to quit fooling around, get his act together and start living a holy life by obeying God. That is the only way for your benediction to really take effect on his life. Psalms 119: 1 spells it out quite plainly:

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.

Did you catch that? Only the blameless and the obedient can truly be blessed. Otherwise, your pronouncement of blessing will just fall on empty ears and it will just be another empty benediction that never truly come to pass.


Published by

Jojo Agot

Pastor at Victory. Teacher and writer at Every Nation Leadership Institute (ENLI). MA in Theology and Mission at Every Nation Seminary.

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