The Blessing, Part 4

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FAMILY DEVOTIONS - we look at the 3rd element of "The Blessing:" expressing high value.


Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Psalm 103:1

We are in our fourth week of exploring “The Blessing.” Have you used the first two elements of the blessing with those you love in the last week?  The first is meaningful touch – a hug, kiss, shoulder squeeze, affection rub.  This communicates care to others, along with bringing many health benefits and helping protect youth from high-risk behavior!  The second element is spoken words specifically meant to uplift, express love, encourage and bless.  The spoken word ties in directly with the third element of the Blessing, which we will explore this week: expressing high value.  “To ‘value’ something means to attach great importance to it.  This is at the very heart of the concept of ‘blessing.’ In Hebrew, to ‘bow the knee’ is the root meaning of blessing.  This root word is used of a man who has his camel bend its knees so he could get on (Gen. 24:11).  In relationship to God the word came to mean ‘to adore with bended knees.’  Bowing before someone is a graphic picture of valuing that person.  Notice the important principle here: Anytime we bless someone, we are attaching high value to him or her.”  Although we no longer kneel in worship, perhaps the easiest way to imagine valuing someone is to put it in the context of us bending our knees and bowing low before our Maker – it is a position of honor and respect.  We bless the Lord by expressing His high value.  It is this same position that we learn to use toward others.

Father, as you have taught me to bend my knee before you, help me to do the same before others, expressing their high value in words of blessing. Amen.



When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 Samuel 6:18

To better understand the idea of valuing others, let’s look at an illustration by Gary Smalley: “In my life, I want God to be of utmost value to me… If I were to chart this on a 1-to-10 scale I would value the Lord at ’10,’ of high value.  Right beneath… would come my relationship with Norma, my wife.  Humanly speaking, she is my best friend, and I love and value her right beneath my love for the Lord, maybe a ‘9.5.’  Then come my children. I love each of them dearly… I would value them at about a ‘9.4,’ right behind Norma.  I do not love them less; but in attaching value to them, they come right behind my relationship with my Lord and with my wife.  Now… emotionally there are times with the kids when my feelings for them might drop to a ‘6.4,’ or event a ‘4.2.’ Particularly if we have been camping in our mini-mobile home and it has been raining all week.  But, because I want to love and value them at a ‘9.4,’ I continually try to push their value back where it belongs.  The same thing goes with Norma.  I don’t want to hurt or devalue her in any way… If I do… I immediately decide to raise her value to just beneath where I value the Lord.  When we bless someone, we are deciding that he or she is of high value.”  In the Scriptures, men blessed other men.  “When they did, they were attaching high value to the person they were blessing.  They were recognizing him or her as a very special individual… every person today needs the blessing to feel truly loved and secure about himself or herself.

Pray that God would point out opportunities to attach high value to people in your life, and that you would express their value to them.



So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed! From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine.  Genesis 27:27-28

We saw last week how difficult it can be for parents to speak words of blessing to their children because of the demands of modern life and the busy schedules of so many families.  Children often only hear words of value when they have performed well at a sports’ event or dance recital, on a test or difficult homework assignment, or when they’ve been chosen as a team captain or for school office. But “children who perform to get a blessing retain a nagging uncertainty about whether they really ever received it.”  Am I valuable because I am me, or am I valuable for what I do?  We must become skilled at expressing a “person’s valuable qualities and character traits apart from his or her performance.”  The key to communicating such feelings to our children, spouse, or friends – a key that can get around the walls a defensive spouse or child can set up – is in the use of word pictures.  We use word pictures often without realizing it. Guys call cute girls “chicks,” obviously not suggesting that they are scratching around in the dirt for food.  Word pictures, which we will explore further, allow us to draw certain images and characteristics to mind that might otherwise escape our descriptions or get shut out.  We can use these to learn to bless.

Mother’s Day is approaching.  Pray for wisdom so that you can bless your mother or a special woman in your life with the Blessing – meaningful touch, spoken words, and expressing high value.



Judah, my son, is a young lion that has finished eating its prey… Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns… Joseph is the foal of a wild donkey, the foal of a wild donkey at a spring— one of the wild donkeys on the ridge.  Genesis 49:9, 21-22

Today’s passage is selections of the blessing Jacob gave to each of his 12 sons.  For each one he used expressive word pictures, and each suggests something completely different that ties in with his specific blessing for that son.  Before you start calling your wife a foal of a donkey or your son a doe set free, let’s consider 4 keys to communicating high value using word pictures – 2 today and 2 tomorrow.  The first key is to use an everyday object – something you and the person you are blessing are familiar with.  If they would have to look it up to understand, don’t use it!  In Song of Solomon, the couple use word pictures over 80 times in 8 short chapters!  Solomon says of his bride, “You have dove’s eyes behind your veil” (4:1). “The gentle, shy, and tender nature of these creatures would be familiar” to his bride.  She would understand what he is expressing when mere words would fail.  The second key is to “match the emotional meaning of the trait you are praising with the object you pick.”  For example, one wise mother wanted to express value to her daughter because she so caring toward her younger siblings.  This mother looked for an everyday object, and chose “Mama Kitty,” the family cat who had just had a litter of kittens.  The mother told her daughter, “You remind me of Mama Kitty the way you look out for your little brother and sister.”  The little girl had watched Mama Kitty often, and beamed under her mother’s words, knowing exactly what she meant.

Father, open my eyes to see what objects I can use to express value to those I love.


FRIDAY, May 10

Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me… I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. Song of Solomon 1:6, 7:10

This passage is shows how word pictures can communicate value.  The third key to them is that word pictures “unravel our defenses.”  When Solomon first meets his blushing bride, she is ashamed of her tanned skin, which she was ashamed of.  If Solomon had simply said, “You’re cute,” she could have expressed 10 reasons why that statement wasn’t true. But as he says, “exciting as a mare… eyes like doves… a lily among thistles… lips like scarlet ribbon…” her defenses unravel and she grows more secure in their relationship.  Word pictures allow us to get around the defenses of wounded or insecure hearts and express high value.  The fourth key to Word pictures is that that they point out a person’s potential.  “Jesus did this in changing Simon’s name to Peter (literally ‘rock’ in Greek). Peter certainly didn’t act like a rock of strength and stability when he tried to talk Jesus out of going to the cross, when he went to sleep in the garden, or when he denied Jesus three times.  But Jesus knew Peter’s heart; and after the Resurrection, Peter became the rock he was pictured to be.”  So remember the four keys: use an everyday object; match the emotional meaning of the trait you are praising with the object you’ve picked; word pictures unravel our defenses, and word pictures can point out a person’s potential.  Keep in mind, too, that “a picture is worth a thousand words.  When we link a word picture with a message of high value, we multiply our message a thousand times.”

Lord, thank You for picturing us as your children, and making it happen through Jesus Christ, our Savior.



Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

This is Diane’s story, and how her parents powerfully impacted her life by attaching high value:  “When Diane was given to them for the first time they saw that her left arm had never developed below the elbow.  There were tears in the delivery room and deep concern as test after test was performed on Diane. …Diane’s parents didn’t know how they should handle the anxious questions from relatives and friends.  Two days later, the doctors told Diane’s parents… they had not picked up any other signs of medical or physical problems. …Diane’s parents bowed together in prayer.  They thanked God that their daughter had no other serious problems. But they prayed something else that proved to be of tremendous benefit to their daughter… that their love for her would make up for any lack of physical abilities she possessed.  They decided that morning that they would encourage Diane to become all that God would have her to be… Diane is 19 now and… something special about Diane draw your attention away from her empty sleeve, particularly when you listen to  her play a beautiful melody on the piano – with only one hand.  Diane has had to deal with tremendous obstacles in her 19 years.  The stares, giggle and tactless questions of her peers in grade school… Diane received a precious and powerful gift from her parents – the security of knowing she was highly valued and unconditionally accepted.  ‘They have always told me over and over that “I am their greatest claim to fame. ” For 19 years, they have communicated the blessing to her by showing her with words of high value and unconditional acceptance.”


All quotations are taken from "The Blessing" pages 71- 87.

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