Sunday, March 25, 2007

Reflection, March 25, 2007

As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

A blessing word

"Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands towards heaven."
2 Chronicles 6:13

The most commonly used Hebrew word for blessing in the Old Testament is "barak." It is used hundreds of times. It means to kneel, bless, praise, and salute. Some feel there is an association between kneeling and receiving a blessing (2 Chronicles 6:13; Psalm 95:6; Genesis 24:11). One theological dictionary summarized the use of "barak" in Old Testament blessings in this way, "To bless in the Old Testament means to endure with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity." (Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament." Volume 1, p. 132)

In general, it seems that blessings are bestowed from the greater to the lesser such as from a father to a son (Genesis 49), brother to a sister (Genesis 24:6), or a King to his subjects (1 Kings 8:14). Blessings are given for special occasions, departures, and introductions (2 Chronicles 6:3; Genesis 47:7, 10). But the main function of blessing seems to confer abundant and effective life upon something or someone (Genesis 2:3; 27:27ff; Genesis 49; 1 Samuel 9:13; Isaiah 66:3). Blessing can be a formalized way of expressing thanks and praise to a person for life's abundance. It can offer futuristic power for living in a person.

However "barak" may be used, it is used with the knowledge that God is the only source of blessing. God controls blessing. Only God's presence can bring true blessing and God's name is the heart of all blessing. Those wrongly related to God
cannot bless or be blessed (Deuteronomy 10:8; Malachi 2:2).

Barak blessings are for people of all sexual orientations. So consider an experiment with God today.

Take a moment and kneel in your hearts. Spread out your hands toward heaven. Ask God for moments of barak blessed awareness as you go about your day. Count your blessings with gratitude and joy. You will be amazed at how many come your way.

God, you are our ultimate source of blessing. Energize us with your presence and power. Give us a special blessing today. Amen.

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