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BLESSING & CURSE SCRIPTURE: Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the

families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3). Sometimes we take the idea of what is a blessing for granted. We even say “God bless you” when someone sneezes, but what is a blessing? God promised to Abraham in Gen.12:3 “I will bless those who bless you (וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ), and the one who curses you I will curse (וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר). The Biblical command enjoined on all who worship God of Abraham is crystal clear – they must bless the descendants of Abraham, the people of Israel. In Hebrew, the verb to bless is לברך (pronounced: levarech) comes from the root בָּרַךְ (barach). This root is directly connected to the word “knee” בֶּרֶךְ (berech) which implies kneeling and rendering service to someone. God is not saying he is going to “bend his knee”, but as we think about it, the meaning of this verse can be something like “I will serve those who serve you.”

In this promise, the opposite of a blessing is a curse. God also tells Abraham that everyone who curses (מְקַלֶּלְךָ) him will be cursed (אָאֹר) by God in return. The strength of the promise, however, is somewhat lost in translation. The first word for “curse” (מְקַלֶּלְךָ) comes from a root that literally means to “make light of someone or something heavy”. But the second word for “curse” (אָאֹר) which God renders comes from a completely differdifferent root that can mean something like “to utterly destroy”. Taking into consideration the translation can flow like this: “I will serve those who will serve you and the ones who make light of you I will utterly destroy.” Could the guarantee of God’s protection over the children of Abraham be made any clearer?! PRAYER: Almighty LORD, Most High, the author of our faith, you wield power over all who live and hold us in your hand. The power to bless and to curse is in your hands, the power to increase or to diminish also. You chose to preserve the fortunes of some and allow plans of others to unravel and fall apart at the seams. Why we may never understand. The seed of Abraham has a special place in your plans for our world and you determine whom to bless and whom to curse depending on how they treat the patriarch’s descendants. Thank you for your warning, for your promise, for making your will plain to us in this regard. Guard us,Oh, LORD that we may not bring curses to ourselves by going against you who reign on high in light and power, in grace and justice.

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