English, Afrikaans and many other languages only have one word for "bless".
One Hebrew word for blessing is esher or the Greek word makarios, which is also translated as happiness (for example Psalm 1:1-3, Job 5:17). The easiest way to make someone happy is to provide a wanted resource to someone. For example God bless us with food, friends, opportunities, money, and so forth. Likewise, we can esher bless (make happy) by helping others, for example blessing someone with a donation, service, love or even something as simple as a kind word or smile.
Another word in Hebrew for “bless” is baruk (בָּרוּךְ), which can mean to praise, congratulate, or salute.
Similar words to baruk (בָּרוּךְ) is:
- barah (בָּרָא) which means to create (Genesis 1:1)
- barur (ברור) which means chosen / clear / distinct / certain
For example God created and bless his creation for a clear chosen distinct potential or purpose (Genesis 1). The same could be said about Abraham's seven-fold blessing from God (Genesis 12:1-3).
Not only can God bless, but People also inherited the ability to bless (Genesis 24:60) .
For the purposes of this article we will focus on the baruk blessing.
Isaac kissed and then said to Jacob/Esau -- Genesis 27:27 (NKJV)
Israel kissed, embraced, laid his hands on the children and said. -- Genesis 48
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, 'On this wise you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them..." -- Numbers 6:22 (NKJV)
We bless/curse with our tongue/mouth -- James 3:9-10 (NKJV)
Humans praise someone looking backwards, in other words, you first need to accomplish something, then you will receive praise based on the result of your previous actions.
Blessings work the other way around. Blessings look forward, in other words, someone or something is blessed based on his/her/its future potential regardless of what he/she/it did in the past or what his/her/its current condition.
For example a parent will bless his/her newborn not because the baby did something to deserve it, but the baby could become someone great in the future. Likewise, an entrepreneur will invest in his/her start-up not because it is already profitable, but because he/she believes that the business will become profitable in the future.
Actually the power lies in our words. With our words (tongue) we can bless or curse (as explained in James 3).
Our words can either create a vision, hope, encouragement, intimacy or cause depression, discouragement or death (killing intimacy or relationships).
This means our words which may include blessings or curses shapes our and those around us' perception of reality and our expectations of the future (faith) and this in turn shapes our reactions.
This is the level at which most motivational speakers operate.
Our words can command others to build (bless) or destroy (curse).
"For I also am a man subject to authority [of a higher rank], with soldiers subject to me; and I say to one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it." -- Matthew 8:9 (AMP)
However, this also applies to non-human creation.
Consider for example that we learn in Genesis 1 that God spoke his creation into existence without humans. God bless his creation before humans existed. God also cursed the ground (Genesis 3:17-19). Yeshua command the storm to stop (Mark 4).
There also exist a legal system in the spiritual dimension that must obey commands and react on blessings and curses.
"Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." -- Matthew 18:18 (NKJV)
"He has blessed; and I cannot reverse it" -- Numbers 23:20 (NKJV)
"No longer shall there be any curse [when] the throne of Elohim and the Lamb shall be in it [new Jerusalem]" -- Revelation 22:3 (AMP)
More examples from the Bible:
- Cannot curse because no iniquity found. (Numbers 23:21)
- Can confess iniquities of fathers. (Leviticus 26:40-42)
- God's protection (Psalm 109:28)
- Curse without a cause will have no effect (Proverbs 26:2)
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." -- Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
At this level faith is a powerful force that gets activated and God honours it and allow us to shape the world so that we experience miracles.
So Jesus said to them, "... for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." -- Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)
More examples from the Bible:
- Centurion with sick servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
- People bringing paralytic to Jesus in bed (Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:1-5)
- Women who suffering from blood discharges (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:24-34)
- Two blind men (Matthew 9:27-30)
- Canaanite woman with demon oppressed daughter (Matthew 15:22-28)
- Peter healing lame man (Acts 3:1-16)
- Paul healing lame man (Acts 14:8-11)