alternate textThe cornerstone of the Abrahamic tradition of belief (the tradition of belief that started with Avraham and includes us) is that Yahweh promised that He would bless Avraham and his seed and that through this small and insignificant nation He would bless all the nations and generations of the earth. If you take away this ingredient of the promise of blessing, you are stranded with an empty shell with no substance, no context and no hope. The promise of blessings from the hand of Yahweh, is what motivates us to follow and to love Yahweh and to keep his commandments and to persevere in our daily walk as believers. If someone tells me that I should not follow Yahweh for his blessings, but simply for who He is, I can go along with that. Of course it is true. If I only think about what I can receive from Him, how much I can gain and how profitable it may be to become a follower of Yahweh, then I need a change of heart. What I should be exited about most, is His greatness, not His gifts; His protection, not His provision; the excellence of his Person, not the extras out of his hand.

But even though my following of Yahweh is not driven by blessing, it is sustained and surrounded and characterized by blessing. The mere fact that I can call myself a follower of Yahweh, is already because of the blessings of the Almighty. If Yahweh would not accompany me on my way to any chosen destination, I can just as well declare with Mosheh, in the words of Exodus 33:15, “then I would not like to depart from here”. Who is there that can eat and find enjoyment without Him (Eccl 2:25) and what do we have that we did not receive from Him (1 Cor 4:7)? Everything comes from Him and even when we give to Him, we do so out of his own hand (1 Chron 29:14) – we are only giving back what we have previously received. Out of his fulness, we all have (already) received, favour upon favour (John 1:16).

In what areas of our lives will we be able to taste and experience the blessings of Yahweh? Let us take seven clues only from the book of Genesis. [1] He makes our homes and our families to increase (Gen 17:20 I shall bless him, and shall make him fruitful, and greatly increase him); [2] He gives us the upper hand over our enemies (Gen 22:17 I shall certainly bless you … and let your seed possess the gate of their enemies); [3] He never withholds his kindness and faithfulness (Gen 24:27 Blessed be Yahweh … who has not withheld His kindness and faithfulness); [4] He brings about the promises that He had made previously – even to those before us (Gen 26:3 I shall be with you and bless you … and I shall establish the oath which I swore to Avraham your father); [5] He allows us to know Him intimately and call upon his Name (Gen 32:29-30 Why do you ask about My Name? And He blessed him there … and Yaakov said … I have seen Elohim face to face); [6] He becomes actively involved in our lives (Gen 35:9 Elohim appeared to Yaakov again and blessed him and said to him, your name is no longer called Yaakov but Yisrael); [7] He turns our focus to the coming of Y’shua the Messiah (Gen 49:10 Yaakov blessed his sons and said [among other things], “The sceptre shall not turn aside from Yehudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of nations.

Let us take a good look at the Aaronic blessing (Num 6:24-26) in Hebrew, Afrikaans and English (The “g” sound in the Hebrew words is the Afrikaans “g” as in “glo” en “gawe”): 24 Yevarêgega Yahweh veyishmerêga. (Yahweh sal jou seën en jou bewaar / Yahweh will bless and keep you) 25 Ya’er Yahweh panav eilêga vigunnêka (Yahweh sal sy aangesig oor jou laat skyn en aan jou sy guns betoon / Yahweh will make his face shine upon you and will show favour to you) 26 Yissa Yahweh panav eilêga veyasem lega shalom (Yahweh sal sy aangesig oor jou verhef en aan jou vrede gee / Yahweh will lift up his face upon you and will give you peace). Although this entire blessing is written and presented to us in the future tense, the three verses of the blessing represent three different time dimensions of this great blessing: (1) Reminding us about the way He has blessed and kept us in the past, as a guarantee that He will do the same in future, with the key concepts of keeping and protecting; (2) Inviting us to look around and notice the brightness and the light and the tokens of his favour around us, with the key being the shining of his face upon us; (3) Assuring us that even though we cannot lift up our faces beyond the present time, to see the future, He can do that and this is all that we need to experience his peace!

Based upon the fact that we have been blessed by Yahweh, we are not only allowed to bless others (and especially our children) we are commanded to bless others: Deut 16:17 “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing that Yahweh your Elohim had given him”; 2 Cor 9:6 “He who sows on blessing shall also reap on blessing.” Let us always bless others according to the measure of the blessing we have received (and enjoyed) out of the hand of Yahweh!

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