Blessing, from a Biblical perspective, can be the endowment of favor from God of either material wealth or status. It can also be an act of God giving prosperity and success to a person or a people. In the Old Testament, you would find a few Hebrew translations for “bless” or “blessing” such as barak and esher.
Barak means to bless, praise, kneel down, or salute. Most of the Old Testament usage of barak is in reference to the word “kneel,” since one needed to kneel to receive a blessing in ancient times. This word usually pertains to the man bowing down in reverence before God to bless Him as an act of worship. David used this word to express himself blessing the Lord with his soul and everything within him (Psalm 103:1-2 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:). Barak is also used to express God blessing man and other creatures, and the first instance of this can be found in Genesis 1:22 when God blessed the birds and the sea creatures to be fruitful and multiply to fill the whole earth. Then, in Genesis 1:28, God also declared for man the blessing of fruitfulness and increase in number but with the exclusive blessing of dominion over all creation. This word has also been used for “curse,” such as when Job was incited by his wife to curse God and die (Job 2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.).
Another Old Testament Hebrew word for “blessing” or “blessed” is esher, which means “happiness” or “blessedness.” An example can be taken from Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” This would mean that a blessing is intended by God to bring happiness, but not the kind that goes without boundaries. True blessing brings happiness that allows a person to enjoy the will of God without compromising spiritual and moral integrity. Happiness becomes a problem when it is selfish and done in ways that lead a person to disobey God. The word esher is also used in Job 5:17 when Job’s friend, Eliphaz the Temanite, told Job not to despise the Lord’s discipline, for blessed is the one whom God corrects. In other words, God’s discipline is really a blessing that brings happiness when embraced with humility. Initially, discipline is painful, and to regard it as a blessing seems unlikely to ever come close to an experience that brings happiness. We must understand that everything given by God to us, even if it comes with difficulties, should be regarded as a blessing. After all, God is also our Father, Who knows what is good and what truly is a blessing for His children, including trials and discipline.
The New Testament also has a similar Greek translation for esher, called makarios. This also means “happiness” and is the same word for “blessed” that Jesus used when He preached the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). Blessing comes with the joy we find by living in ways that do not conform to the world but according to the ways of the kingdom of heaven. We are truly blessed when we find happiness and meaning in God. Romans 4:6-8 also speaks of a blessing that brings the joy of our salvation when our sins are forgiven and we are made righteous by the grace of God.
Last, the New Testament also uses eulogio, another Greek word for “blessing,” and it is much like the Hebrew barak. This is where we get the word “eulogy.” Eulogio means “to speak well of” or “praise.” The Bible tells us that we should speak blessing or pray for those people who persecute or harm us (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14). Eulogio also means that we should bless God for He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). When we bless God in every way we can, we recognize that Jesus, the Lamb Who was slain, is worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing (Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Revelation 5:12).
A blessing will always benefit us if it comes from God − whether it causes us to be happy or feel unpleasant − for a good reason. God’s blessing is always perfect in timing and purpose. That is why we must never lose sight of the One Who gave the blessing whenever we pursue the blessing. Only He can give us a truly blessed life.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
(James 1:17 KJV)