What does it mean to be blessed?

November 18, 2017
Wayne Knapman

In the ancient Hebrew culture there are two types of blessing. The first type is called baruch. This is a blessing given by God or towards God, so it’s a blessing that God initiates on a person, or it can be a blessing that a person initiates towards God. So they would say baruch HaShem adonai, which means blessed be the name of the Lord. When people bless the Lord they would use baruch. This term is only used if God is blessing or if they are blessing God. This is the idea of baruch, or the concept of grace. It’s the idea that sometimes God just drops supernatural favour on you. That’s blessed.

The second type of blessing is called ashrei. This is happiness as a result of good decisions that lead people to completion. The Hebrew number of the word ashrei is the number seven. When the Bible says blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven and blessed are they that mourn, the Hebrew word there for blessed is the word is ashrei.

This type of blessing, from the Hebrew, is the blessing of happiness that is a reward for good deeds, good decisions and Torah observance; a list of things that will be good for us and benefit us, helping to bring our lives together in completion and wholeness.

Sometimes in life we are blessed with supernatural things by God and we need to honor that. I am all for that. However most of the time we are simply living the natural consequences, be that good or bad, of our decisions. Let me give you an example. You have two people who make exactly the same amount of money over a thirty year period. One of those people decides to live on less than they made. The other person says, no, I’m not going to go without all the good things in life. I’m entitled to them. In thirty years’ time one will be rich and one will be poor, even though they both made the same amount of money for the same amount of time. Because of the basic decisions one made he will be rich. For the basic decisions the other one made he will be poor; however they were both blessed by God. They were both given the same baruch. They were both given the ability to obtain wealth.

Shane Willard Ministries