“And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”James 3:10 (NLT)
We’ve been singing a song at our church this summer called The Blessing, originally written and performed by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes. Listen to it and it won’t take long to realize there is something special about this piece.
No doubt, the unique voices of Carnes and Jobe blended together are part of what makes it so special, but I think there’s something else underneath its viral run.
As she introduces it in the video, Kari Jobe explains that the lyrics of the song came “straight from Scripture.” In other words, these lyrics that the whole world has been singing lately…came directly off the pages of the Bible. That means the original author of The Blessing is technically God Himself.
If you’re wondering, the main part of The Blessing comes from Numbers 6:22-26, where God gave instructions that the high priest and his assistants were to speak a blessing over the congregation. Here is exactly what God wanted them to say:
‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’Numbers 6:24-26
Beautiful, isn’t it? As you hear them, there’s just something profoundly right and reassuring about the words of the Blessing. Maybe it’s because deep down in our core the things that the blessing conveys – God’s protection, God’s favor, and God’s peace – are things we crave as human beings. They represent the ideal and the ultimate good in contrast to our everyday run-ins with imperfection and brokenness.
But some of us might be wondering, does the Blessing still apply? Is it still available in these difficult days? Is God still interested in blessing people? Yes, yes, and yes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about The Blessing that were true before the song went viral and will still be true afterwards.
The blessing comes from God. The reason the blessing goes, “May the Lord bless you…”is because He is the ultimate Blesser – not us. He is the fountainhead of grace and favor so when we bless someone, it is with the understanding that the blessing comes from God. As James says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17).
The blessing is possible because of Jesus. Bible scholars note that the high priest gave the blessing to the people only after they had made sacrifice for sins. In other words, there was blood before blessing. It wasn’t until sins were atoned for that the priests were in a position to bless the people. The same is true today. We bless others not because they deserve it, but because Jesus died for it. It is because of the once and for all sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us that we can receive the blessing.
The blessing is repeatable and shareable. In the Old Testament it was just the spiritual leaders that imparted the blessing to people, but not so today. Now it is perfectly acceptable for all believers to bless others. Whether it is a simple “God bless you,” or something more elaborate, in Jesus we have the authority to speak blessing over others. As Warren Wiersbe explains, “The church has been blessed with ‘every spiritual blessing through the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3), and we can claim this benediction through him.”
So as it turns out, The Blessing is more than just a song. It is a realm into which God has invited us to come and stay. Having now received of His grace, we are called to share it. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Let me close with a challenge. We’ll call it the 3 x 7 Initiative. Starting today, give a blessing to at least 3 different people every day for the next 7 days. By text, phone, email, or face-to-face, say to them something along the lines of “May the Lord bless you.” (And not just when they sneeze ; )
Sure, they may be a little surprised, but it’s okay. More than likely, it will be the most hopeful and uplifting thing anyone says to them all day.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.