Blessed, But Not Blessed – Day 1


The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

What does it mean to be blessed? Is it material success? Climbing the corporate ladder? Having answered prayers? The Old Testament has two dominant words for blessed. The most commonly used is baruch, which has the idea of increase or something God does, and we're the recipients. His hand is on us, protecting, guiding or prospering us. The other word is esher, which is a state of happiness or how we respond. Many people have baruch and not esher: they wake up by God's grace and goodness but are miserable as the day goes on. In other words, blessed but not blessed.

Happiness is a tough word in church circles; Christians are more prone to talk about joy, which doesn't depend on our circumstances. But happy? Well, we're there if good things are happening. What about the times when not-so-good is going on? We can turn to how Jesus uses esher in the Sermon on the Mount: blessed are the poor in spirit. He defines happiness as the meek, the mourning, the righteous, the pure in heart and those who are persecuted. Huh? Sound like a head scratcher? Jesus says we can be blessed, yet not be blessed.

Do you feel esher today? Take heart: in a hard, chaotic world, Jesus promises that you can find esher. This week, we're going to look at how we can experience it, but for today, take time to meditate on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12. He promises happiness if you faithfully accept his teaching and follow his example. It's not something you'll need to wait to find in your next life ... but right here, right now. Even if you're not yet sure how, offer him thanks for what he will reveal to you as you spend time this week seeking esher.