Bottom Line Message
The Third Benefit of Studying
the Bible: Blessings
The reality of the phenomenon of Bible codes underscores the divine origin of the Bible. Given that, we continue our review of the benefits of studying the Bible. In this article, we look at the blessings of God as one of those benefits.
Psalm 1 paints a black and white contrast between those who study the Bible and those who don't.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
This psalm is full of dramatic contrasts, as the following table indicates.
Other verses also highlight the blessed condition of those who follow the teachings of the Bible:
- Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. (Psalm 119:1)
- Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law. (Psalm 94:12)
The Hebrew word for blessed is one of the most common words in the Old Testament.1 It ranks at 145 out of 1,903 words, with 327 appearances. As the verb bless, it ranks as one of the top 25 most common verbs.
Blessed in Hebrew is and is pronounced barakh. In addition, it means bless, praise, praised, and adored.
Blessing in Hebrew is the word and is pronounced berakha. It also carries the meaning of gift.
When applied to God, blessing means praise or worship. When applied to man, it means God's favor or a bestowal of good, spiritually and/or materially. To be blessed would also connote a state of happiness and well-being. The opposite state would be a curse. It can also reference a prayer of blessing, such as saying a prayer before a meal, or blessing an individual through prayer or action.
Being blessed is a very desirable state of being.
It's All About Choices
Just as the God of the Universe set in motion the laws of the physical world, there are truths in the spiritual world as well. If we stick our hand into a fire, we will get burned. But, if we harness the fire and use it to cook, we will enjoy a fine meal.
As we examine Scriptures on God's blessing, we will find a similar truth. The choices we make in our life about our relationship with God, with God's Word, and with others will have consequences in our lives, either bringing blessings or curses.
Our Relationship with God
God desires a relationship with us. Through praising, trusting, seeking, fearing, and waiting on God, and by making God our refuge, we will be blessed.
- Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. (Psalm 89:15)
- O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:12)
- Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. (Proverbs 16:20)
- But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7)
- Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. (Psalm 40:4)
- Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. (Psalm 119:2)
- Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. (Proverbs 28:14)
Waiting on God
- Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)
Making God Our Refuge
- Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
Studying God's Word Brings Wisdom, Understanding and Blessing
By delighting in and studying God's Word, we find wisdom and understanding and are able to walk according to Scripture. In this, we are blessed.
- Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. (Psalm 119:97-104)
- Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:129-30)
- Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. (Psalm 119:34)
- Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding. (Proverbs 3:13)
Our Relationship with Others
Mark Twain once wrote, "Always do right, it will gratify some people and astonish the rest." The Bible says that doing the right thing brings blessing, as does being kind and generous. It seems the saying, "What goes around, comes around" finds its roots in Scripture.
Doing the Right Thing
- Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right. (Psalm 106:3)
- Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. (Psalm 112:1-2)
- Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. (Psalm 128:1-4)
- The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. (Proverbs 20:7)
Being Kind and Generous
- Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)
- He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. (Proverbs 14:21)
- I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. (Psalm 37:25-26)
- A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)
Parting Thoughts and Blessings
It would be easy to look at the above Scriptures and believe that being blessed by God is all based on our actions. Jump through all the hoops, and you'll have a happy life. But, rather than view it as a lot of hoops to jump through, we can find the grace and mercy of God in these precepts. He has given us examples of what will make us happy and blessed. If we make choices in our lives with these truths in mind, then our relationship with God, His Word, and others will inherently bring us blessings and happiness.
- With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8) [our emphasis]
- May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 115:15)
- 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. (Numbers 6:24-26)
1Van Pelt, Miles, V., and Gary D. Pratico. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003).
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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