“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.