Bless us O Lord!
Let’s face it. Most of us Christians are hung up over “blessings.” We’re eager for God to bless us in every area of ourhands praying lives. We ask Him to bless our food (whatever that means), bless our time together, bless our marriages, bless our ministries, and of course, bless the missionaries. I think we use the word because we’re too lazy to dig deeper in our prayers. We figure God knows what the word means, so we offer it up to Him in the hopes that He’ll know what to do with it.

Technically, the word “bless” can mean to speak well of, to cause to prosper, or to make happy. We usually have the latter two in mind because we’re usually asking God to do something good to us, and it usually involves our happiness or our wallets. “Bless” can also mean to praise, to celebrate with praises, to acknowledge God’s goodness with a desire for His glory. These meanings take “bless” in the other direction-from us to God, not from Him to us. We see an example of this when Simeon spoke in the Spirit upon seeing Jesus brought to him in the Temple by Mary and Joseph:

Then he took him into his arms, and blessed God… (Luke 2:28).

This account helps us see “blessings” from a more biblical perspective. It’s not all about us and our happiness. It’s about returning the blessings we have received from God back to Him:

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among the nations (Psalm 67:1-2).

God has a purpose behind His blessings for us. We are blessed to be a blessing…a blessing to God. Let that profound truth sink in. Specifically, this verse tells us that God blesses us so that His ways would become known on earth, and His saving power would become known among the nations. That will never happen if we hoard the blessings for ourselves.

There’s a definite pattern here. It’s the same pattern we see in nature. God sends the rain as a blessing to water the earth, but the earth gives it back in the process we call evaporation. God gives us blessings so we can return them to Him. Likewise, Gods glory follows the same pattern. He reveals His glory to the nations in order to receive glory from His people through worship. Our problem is that when we receive God’s blessings, we hang on to them. In doing so, we rob God of what He is due. God doesn’t bless us so we will be more comfortable. He blesses us so we will return the blessing to Him, allowing Him to receive the glory He is due. So, just how do we do that? Let’s look again at the reason God blesses us:
that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among the nations.

It takes the same mindset David had when he confronted Goliath in the valley of Elah. He took him on that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel (1 Samuel 17:46). David was more concerned for the reputation of God than his personal concerns. We need to get on our knees and ask God to give us a heart like David had-a heart for Him and His glory. I believe that when our hearts are right, He will show us exactly how we can return each blessing He gives us back to Him so He will receive the maximum glory.