Taking a note from last Sunday’s class, I thought it would be good to explore biblical “blessedness” just a bit more – even if only for my own sake. To begin, there are a handful of meanings and situations for blessedness. Many Bible study references note, however, that the vast sense of “blessed” means simply to be happy; to a slightly lesser extent, “the bestowal of good” upon oneself, or, in other words, “favoured.” Additionally, there is also a sense where “blessed” means to be as God is, or to do as God does – in short, obedience. This is particularly true in a passage like the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-11), where most of the “blessed” qualities are characteristics of God. Yet, we also discover in that passage that blessed situations do not always appear happy, good, or favourable.
Ultimately, God defines blessedness. In the case of Job (Job 42:12), we discover that blessedness consisted of being favoured by God with possessions, family, and old age. In the Beatitudes we discover that blessedness rests upon those who are persecuted, insulted and slandered on account of Christ. What, then, is common between these two seemingly polarized and extreme examples? Proximity to God. We are blessed when we are close to God, when we are like him. Consider these other “beatitudes”:
“Blessed ... are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28)
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)