Written by Robert Wolgemuth, Author of over 20 books
Let’s turn the clock back. Not just to earlier today or last week or a year ago or even back to when you were born. Turn it back to the beginning of time, even before there was such a thing as time.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:1–2).
This is a moment that’s hard to consider. Our wildest imaginations simply don’t engage here. The words formless and empty and darkness paint a picture we cannot comprehend. This isn’t just a starless night or a pitch-dark room; this is a universe of nothingness. Stop and try to consider this. It’s not easy, is it?
And then, right here, right now, we are introduced to God. First, there’s a vacuum. Congenital emptiness. And then there is something. No, actually, not something. SomeOne. God, who was there all along.
And this God begins to speak. And what does He say? He says, “Let there be.” He creates. He makes things using only His voice. He creates every single thing. He doesn’t even use His hands. He only speaks.
As you probably know, the next few days included the creation of daylight, land mass and sea, and all kinds of vegetation.
The First Blessing
After that, God says…
“’Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them” (Genesis 1:20–22).
God creates fish and birds, and then He blesses them. This is the first time we see “bless” in the Bible, and God uses it as an affirmation of what He had just done. In fact, He says to the birds and the fish, “Bless you. Have at it, kids. Enjoy.” That’s right, He invites them to have babies. (Or in this case, lay plenty of eggs.) Procreation follows His blessing.
Living, as my wife, Nancy and I do, just a few miles from Lake Michigan, we’ve seen firsthand something about the fish that fill this huge “freshwater ocean.” Actually, a few years ago, my colleagues and I made a serious catch of fish and lifted some of those bad boys onto the deck of our rented boat.
And almost every day, I get to see a bald eagle—or two—fly by and sometimes swoop down to catch lunch from the St. Joseph River, just behind our home. At this moment, I’m watching more than forty wild swans lazily swimming upstream in the frigid river.
Fish and birds are blessed by God. How cool is that? And remember that the creation of these things happened with the sound of God’s voice. That was all—His voice.
Okay, we have creation—the universe, the earth, seas and dry land, plants, birds, fish, and animals. But there’s more.
God Blessing Humans
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Genesis 1:26–28).
Finally, in this unimaginable odyssey, God creates man and woman. And He blesses them too. And on the heels of that blessing, like the fish and the birds, He tells them to have babies.
It’s like our heavenly Father knew that His blessing needed to move from Him to us and from us to our children and grandchildren.
“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’” (1:27–28).
There it is again. Procreation follows His blessing. (Do I hear an “amen?”)
Here, for the first time in recorded history, we’re introduced to the idea of blessing. The blessing. God’s blessing over people… us… you and me.
How We Can Bless Others
We know what a blessing is, like saying “grace” for our meals, but what exactly is the blessing? And why does the Old Testament make such a big deal about it? And at our stage of life, is there something we should be doing about it?
Let me begin with an answer to the last question. Yes, there is something to “blessing,” and I’m hoping that shortly you’ll also embrace the idea for yourself.
With the days (weeks, months, years) I have left, I have resolved to bless my family with words and touches—and to do so from a heart that is humble before God.
Every night before Nancy and I go off to sleep, we cuddle and I pray. First, I thank the Lord for who He is. His creation, His love, His care, His sovereignty over everything, including the day we have just finished. I thank Him for each event, each conversation, and each decision.
Then I go down a list of folks He has prompted me to love, pray for, and bless. By name, I ask Him to reveal Himself to and bless Nancy, my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandson, Nancy’s mother, and her family. Then there’s a list of a dozen or so young men and women for whom we’ve been asked to pray. These are sons and daughters of good friends who have for specific reasons asked us to pray for their children.
We ask the Father to speak, to protect, and to bless these young people. Some are prodigals, a few are in the process of making life-altering decisions, and still others are predictably facing the temptations common to you and me.
I mention this habit not to brag, only to give you an idea of how I have experienced the joy and privilege of blessing younger people in my life. This is a habit that can be verbalized day after day.
Speaking their names gives me a picture of who I’m praying for. And even though most of these people are grown, I envision actually lifting their bodies toward Heaven, like a biblical priest would do when blessing a child.
So, there you have it. Nothing complicated or mysterious about this. My encouragement to you is what we used to hear in those early Nike ads: Just do it.
And in your efforts to bless others, may I do the same: Bless You.
Editor’s Note: Robert Wolgemuth has written the book “Finish Line: Dispelling Fear, Finding Peace, and Preparing for the End of Your Life” to be released on March 7, 2023. Find out more information here!
1 thought on “Bless You – Unpacking God’s Blessing & How We Can Bless Others”
Thank you for this important work of practicing daily blessings over family and people we know.