Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wellum and Gentry on blessing

In Kingdom Through Covenant, authors Wellum and Gentry discuss what the term blessing, particularly in the life of Abraham:

What is actually meant by “blessing”? Blessing is connected with life, just as cursing brings death. So what would blessing mean in the ancient Near East in Abraham’s time? Does “blessing” mean a full, long life, the good life in the sense of having good health, having a big family to look after one as a senior, business success (i.e., having big flocks and herds or crops that are abundant and successful), acquiring land, having power and victory over your enemies? If we convert these ideas into our modern society, what would blessing mean? Does blessing mean health, business success, being surrounded by a circle of friends (on Facebook?), having influence and power, having a big house and car, having better sex? 
Bruce Waltke explains that “the term ‘to bless’ (brk) with God as subject denotes procreative largesse and victory, accompanied with a sense of loyalty to the future generations (Gen. 1:28; 26:24; 27:27–29).”29 Significantly, however, he adds that “it also connotes redemption, a relationship with God that transforms the beneficiary and provides security.” Dumbrell noted this important aspect too. As Abraham’s life unfolds, we begin to see what blessing means. Blessing operates in the context of a covenant relationship with God. Blessings are the manifestation of a faithfulness, fidelity, and solidarity in relationships whereby one’s natural and personal capacity to fulfill God’s intention and purpose is advanced and furthered.31 God’s word to Abram is powerful, enabling the calling to be fulfilled. (241-2)

I love this definition for blessing: "one’s natural and personal capacity to fulfill God’s intention and purpose is advanced and furthered." It is powerful because it takes the emphasis off of me-my needs, my wants, my desires-and focuses on God; we are blessed when we can fulfill God's purpose.

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