There’s nothing quite like invoking holiness as a way to brag about your life. But calling something “blessed” has become the go-to term for those who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble, fish for a compliment, acknowledge a success (without sounding too conceited), or purposely elicit envy. …NYTimes, They Feel ‘Blessed’ by Jessica Bennett*
The overuse of the word has all but stripped it of its meaning.
Today I’m thinking about what it means to be “blessed.”
My friend recommended a book, handed me a copy of Our Good Crisis: Overcoming moral chaos with the Beatitudes** written by Jonathan K. Dodson. I’ve decided to process my reading here – bit by bit!
Jesus opens His sermon, the one we call “the Sermon on the Mount,” with the Beatitudes recorded in Matthew 5:1 – 12.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed …”Matthew 5:1-3a
#Blessed is a popular hashtag! We use that word often – saying a blessing before a meal, the comment, “bless your heart,” that may or may not be complimentary, blessing those who sneeze. As the New York Times noted a few years ago, the hashtag is often self-promotional! But how does God use the word?
The Greek word translated blessed [in the New Testament] is makarioiKey-Word Study Bible
which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor,
regardless of the circumstances.
The New Testament word for blessed, makarioi, has the same meaning as the Hebrew word, esher. The concept of blessing is addressed often in the Pentateuch. One particular verse compares well to the blessings in the Beatitudes.
Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?Deuteronomy 33:29
He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.
Notice that to be blessed has to do with being in a covenant relationship with God. Being blessed means living within the boundaries that God has given us – living according to His law! We see this same concept reiterated in the Psalms!
Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord,Psalm 1:1 – 2
and who meditates on his law day and night.
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—Psalm 119:1-2
To know and to do God’s will is to be blessed!
While in society being blessed often refers to prosperity in some way, scripture says being blessed is all about the prosperity of our souls, experiencing God’s presence fully in our lives!
In upcoming installments we will look at each of the Beatitudes … one by one! I hope you’ll join me!
HE IS THE FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING!
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
mount of God’s redeeming love.
Here I find my greatest treasure;
hither by thy help I’ve come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
bought me with his precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtorRobert Robinson, 1758
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee:
prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.
*Bennett, J. (2014, May 02). They Feel ‘Blessed’. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/fashion/blessed-becomes-popular-word-hashtag-social-media.html
**Dodson, J. K. (2020). Our good crisis: Overcoming moral chaos with the Beatitudes. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, an imprint of InterVarsity Press.