Monday, January 2, 2012

Worship and Blessing

Worship and Blessing

When God created

the heavens and the earth, vegetation, animals and man, He blessed them and praised them as very good:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, - Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth...God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, - Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Genesis 1:1, 21-22, 27-28

God blessed His creation, and He continually blesses us all, with breath and life and family and fulfillment.

But we also bless God:

"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalms 34:1 (ESV)

Blessing God is often considered worship. If God blesses His creation, does He worship His creation? How does the concept of blessing relate to worship?

BLESS: barak (to kneel)

To bless something literally means to make them kneel down:

The servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor. And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when women go out to draw water." Genesis 24:10-11 (ESV)

"Kneel down" is from the same Hebrew word: barak.

In blessing His creation, God was figuratively making His creation to kneel before that He might give something good. He gave His creation fruitful life. He gave to mankind a fruitful life with dominion over all that God had created, making man and woman stewards of His world.

Blessing God is closely connected with worship of God:

I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord and blessed the Lord." Genesis 24:48 (ESV)

Abraham's servant blessed his camels, making them kneel down by the well of water. Later, that same servant worshiped and blessed God.

In what sense did the servant make God kneel down? How does worship compare with blessing? Are they the same? If so, did God worship His creation?

The words worship and blessing appear closely related in meaning:

WORSHIP: shaha (to depress, to prostrate)

Our English word, depress, means to press down, to let fall or lower. It commonly now is used to describe long-lasting sadness and apathy.

Prostrate literally means to throw down. It describes a person with face on the ground in humble adoration. It can also describe someone utterly exhausted, lying flat on the ground.

If we take the servant's words literally, he shriveled up or bent his neck, putting his face to the ground, and made the Lord kneel.

The literal image seems odd.

In what way could anyone make God kneel?

The only way this makes sense is if the literal meaning of "bless" is meant to be taken figuratively: the servant intended to give something good to God. He intended to make much of God, praising Him for His wise guidance, steadfast love and faithfulness.

Worship and blessing are distinct, but they often naturally connect together. Worship means to place yourself lower than another, recognizing the other's greatness. Blessing means to imagine having someone kneel before you so that you may give them something good.

Although the literal meaning of blessing means to make someone kneel, the intention of the word is to mean that you are giving something good.

In blessing His creation, God was not worshipping His creation...He was giving His creation something good.

In blessing God, we are not making Him kneel before us...we are giving Him something good. We are making much of Him.

We are making Him our Treasure.

Image provided by upyernoz, Creative Commons License