“Blessed shall you when you come in, and blessed shall you when you go out” - Deuteronomy 28:6 (NIV).
There are a number of tribes in Uganda and throughout Africa where children are given names that ring like a form of curse. Can you imagine giving a child a name like “Damadri” - death has come! or, “Musota”-the snake!” Perhaps “Zinsazze”- sorrows upon me! Well, frankly the intention of giving children such names is not to bless them but something else, perhaps sinister.
Such cursing was not the case among the Jews. After Abraham’s servant convinced her family to release Rebekah for marriage to Isaac, before they let her go a prayer was said. “Our sister may you increase to thousands upon thousands, may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies” (Gen 24:60). The nation that would come out of Rebekah’s womb, Israel, has since been blessed by that prayer.
Blessings at the start of a journey was customary among Jews. Moses blessed Joshua as he passed on to him the leadership baton. “Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord. He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemy will cower over you and you will tread on their heights” (Deut 33:29). Jacob called on Joseph to bless his children before passing on. “When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said, “They are my sons whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me that I may bless them” (Gen 48:8-9).
Just as in some cultures they lump on children sinister names to follow them through, so are they too reluctant to bless each other. However, if we see among God’s people, blessing each other was a way of life. May we just like they be inspired to bless each other, starting with our very families. For if we see the success of the Jewish peoples all over the world and through millenniums, who can doubt that those prayers of blessings by their forefathers have followed them mightily.
Prayer for today: Lord Father in heaven, today I pray in the precious name of Lord Jesus, to be blessed of you and those whom you have placed under him.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the seven capstones in the hand of Zerubbabel” – (Zechariah 4:10)
Setbacks are common to life. Perhaps you once started on a task and it has faced obstacles along the way, derailing it. Do not give up.
Maybe you could look to Zerrubbabel, the leader of the people of Judah, who was called by God to begin rebuilding the temple after exile in Babylon. Perhaps he imagined it a quicksand project. Yet what was clearly a call from God and a good work at that would take 17 years to see to completion!
When he first raised a foundation Zerubbabel found his people giving him little credit. “But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads who had seen the former temple wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid…” (Ezekiel 3:12). Later some people set out to discourage him. “Then the people around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and made them afraid to go on building” (Ezra 4:4).
Any of us here could relate. Who has not handled that job which didn’t go to plan! But just as Zerubbabel faced a setback and eventually overcame, you too should have faith God will see you through. As the word of the Lord says: “being confident in the day that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray to hold on to that dream you have given me and will see it to completion however long it might take, this I pray in Jesus’ name.