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Blessings vs.

Read Genesis 27

Have you ever asked God to bless you? Have you ever wished your parents or other important people in your
life would bless you? Blessings have been longed for throughout history. Though the Bible often warns of
curses, it speaks frequently of blessings. In fact, one of the Hebrew words for blessing, barak, appears 415
times in the Old Testament.
I never thought much about the word "blessing" until we had a pastor a few years ago that would often say,
"Don't speak cursings, speak blessings." He used the phrase often, so I finally asked him what he meant. He
reminded me of the blessings and cursings of the Bible. I, then, delved into the matter. Reading the Bible again,
I was amazed at how often blessings were asked for ... even begged for. Esau begged for the blessing of his
father after his brother received the blessing meant for Esau. Jacob even wrestled an angel for his blessing.
There are many other stories of such longed for blessings. In the Bible reading, it also became evident how
cursings were dreaded. One of the first curses was God's toward Cain. Cain cried out that his cursing was "too
great to bear" Genesis 3:13. So, God tagged him with a marked that warned of a dreaded curse to anyone who
harmed him. Poor Jabez's name meant "sorrow" ... what an awful curse! Yet, he cried out to God this prayer in I
Chronicles 4:10: "'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep
me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request." The word for pain in that verse,
can be translated vexed, grieved, or sorrowed (in other words, cursed!). Jabez wanted free of his curse, so he
asked God for a blessing. God graciously answered his request.
Our pastor also reminded me how often my words, especially to my children, could affect others. I thought
about the affects my parents' or others' words had in my life -- some positive, some negative. Many words
helped shape my life ... for good, and for bad. I remembered being called "smart," and, thus, acting smart. But, I
also remember being called words like "black sheep" and "dog" by others. Those words wounded deeply and
stayed with me ... and, unfortunately, helped shape my attitude toward myself and others.
Think about it. What words have helped shape "you?" What words do you remember people used to describe
you, or call you? How did they affect you? Some of those words or phrases you completely identify with now,
don't you? They hit deep. Now, what words are coming out of your mouth that may be shaping others? Have
you ever taken stock of the things that come out of your mouth? Are they blessings? Or, cursings? You may be
surprised when you think about your words.
Though most of the examples here were from the Old Testament, in the New Testament, Christ commands
us to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them...." in Matthew 5:44.
Are you blessing others with your words?
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee;
The Lord make His face shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

~Michelle Pearson, 18 Aug 2003