May the LORD bless you and keep you… — Numbers 6:24
Today I sneezed.
A lady across the room said, “Bless you.”
Really profound place to start, right?
But it led me to think about something deep and mysterious: the notion of blessing. Maybe the concept is near ubiquitous, at least in our language:
“I”m so blessed.”
And my personal favorite: “Bless his heart,” the precursor to all kinds of malicious talk (at least in the South!).
But the biblical concept of blessing is so rich — we would do well to reflect on it.
The Hebrew word for bless is “barak” which carries a dual meaning. It certainly means “bless” but there is also a connection with the knee, “berekh” in Hebrew. So the word also carries the meaning of kneeling, bowing. And this is where our understanding deepens.
The Hebrew language concretizes this concept of blessing in the image of one kneeling, a posture of humility. In seeking out a blessing, one humbles himself before one he considers to be blessed. This is what is implied with the Hebrew prayers, many of whom begin with “Barukh atta Adonai eloheynu melekh ha’olam,” — Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe. To seek blessing is to present oneself before God and the only fitting posture for this is humility.
Are you seeking true blessing?
Bow before the King of all things.
Think about that the next time you sneeze.