“God bless you” is often said to offer encouragement to someone when they sneeze or depart from our home. The word “bless” means to offer approval or encouragement. When someone is sarcastic, is critical, or cuts themselves or others down or makes fun of someone else, it not only hurts people’s feelings but might even wound God’s heart. Offering a blessing can shift a situation and change our attitude toward those who might have been offensive.
We must choose blessings or life for ourselves. Deuteronomy 30:19–20a reminds us, “This day I call the heavens and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the Lord your God is your life. . . .” Offering a blessing ushers in God’s presence and power.
When we choose to bless, it brings us life and also raises the standard. Did you know blessing others was a practice the Lord taught Moses to do for his brother Aaron and his priests? It’s fitting that we offer blessings to each other and also to bless ourselves. When we do this, we are speaking life over ourselves and those we love. The Lord showed Moses how to teach the priests to bless each other in Numbers 6:22–26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
God honors those who follow him by lifting them up; just as an earthy father gives special privileges to their children, God shows us favor when we delight in Him. Praying scriptural blessings over ourselves and our families is using God’s prayer book, the Bible, to give our words wings.
I would like to close our time together with this powerful prayer of blessing from I Kings 8:57–58 (MSG). Let’s pray this over ourselves and loved ones:
“May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen