What comes to your mind when you think of the word “bless”? Perhaps you thought about asking for God’s goodness and mercy to be given to an individual or a group or pausing to ask God’s blessing on a meal. It is a word that infers the desire for someone to experience happiness and good fortune or God’s presence and power in future endeavors. Pastors invoke God’s blessing on marriages, at baby dedications and on many other special occasions. We do not often think about our ability to “Bless the Lord” or to“Bless the Name of the Lord” unless we are drawn to that idea through Scripture or song. In modern translations of the Psalms, the word “praise” is often exchanged for the word “bless”. While that is an appropriate synonym, it is very incomplete because the Hebrew word actually means to “bend the knee or to kneel down”. It seems that when we humbly come to God, acknowledging His worth, His inexhaustible grace and mercy towards us, His limitless love and kindness, His power and omniscience, His majesty and His glory that both His character and His name are somehow enriched and honored. Just as there is little more that delights the heart of a parent than to hear specific words of appreciation and gratefulness from their children, our Heavenly Father longs to hear our words.
These phrases were very familiar to the Israelites. Undoubtedly they knew that the temple which King Solomon built was to be “a house for the Name of the LORD, his God”. It was to be a place of grandeur and magnificence in the sight of all the nations – II Chronicles 22: 6 – 10. Perhaps as they stood in the temple courts they sang David’s song of worship and gratefulness and reflected on God’s wonderful deeds and His amazing provisions for them.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” – Psalm 103
As you come to this study of various names for God that are given to us in the Old Testament, it could be helpful to“bow down” in humble adoration and bless the Lord. Why not join with the rest of us as we sing the newer song (by Matt Redman) which was inspired by Job right after Satan first totally destroyed his servants, his animals and then his family.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord in the land that is plentiful where streams of abundance flow.
Blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place and walk through the wilderness.
Blessed be Your name when the sun’s shining down on me and the world’s ‘all as it should be’.
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering, though there’s pain in the offering.
Every blessing You pour out, I’ll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say:
‘Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be Your glorious name.
You give and take away. You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name.’”