To bless [Heb barak—to kneel, bless, be blessed, curse; used more than 300 times in the Old Testament] is derived from a root meaning “to kneel,” by implication in adoration of God. God’s blessings are upon individuals first used with Adam and Eve in Gen 1:22, 28), nations (Gen 12:1-3), His entire creation, and uniquely upon the righteous who obey Him. God blesses the obedient (Ps 1:1), as well as the disobedient, who have received His forgiveness (Ps 32:1). God’s blessings include wisdom, salvation, prosperity, and the internal peace that passes all understanding.
Man’s response to God’s blessings should be to praise the LORD, to be a blessing to one another, and to keep looking for the blessed hope, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful obedience will reap abundant blessings and delights the heart of God!
Reflection: What aspect or lesson from last week’s lesson or lecture most encouraged or challenged you? Why?
Discovery Zone Psalms include individual and community proclamations of praise that serve as continual reminders of the deliverance and blessings of the Lord. Worshipers on their ascent to Jerusalem for the three annual feasts sangPilgrimage Psalms, recounting the specifics of the psalmist’s difficulty and praise for the deliverance of Yahweh. Begin your study in prayer and thank Him for specific blessings in your life.
1. Psalms from the Discovery Zone include many Psalms of the worshiping community. Read Psalm 66 and answer the following questions.
A. Read verses 1–3 and list the words used describing the kind of praise the psalmist is using to thank Yahweh.
B. Read verses 1–4. What repeated phrase indicates that the praise is both public and communal?
C. Read verses 5–7. Which phrase in these verses is most encouraging to you?
D. Read verses 8–12. What do you learn about difficulties from these verses? What confidence do they inspire?
E. Read verses 13–15. What shift do you observe in the use of personal pronouns? Why might that be important?
F. Read verses 16–20. Which verse offers a warning to one who will be blessed by God?
G. What additional insights do you gain from the cross references on the manifold blessings of God in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?
2. Write a Psalm of Thanksgiving, using this pattern of reflection and thanksgiving, regarding some recent deliverance in your life.
3. Read Psalm 124.
A. As you read this short Psalm, what emotion does it evoke in your heart? What memories?
B. The psalmist uses the metaphor of a bird caught in a snare that is broken, making escape possible. What contemporary metaphor might you use to describe the way of escape God has provided?
C. Read 1 Cor 10:13. What additional thoughts about deliverance do you gain from this verse in the New Testament?
D. Can you think of a time when God provided you with a “way of escape” from temptation?
4. What one insight or lesson do you want to remember from this week’s lesson? Note it below and on the journal page entitled “Songs for My Soul” at the back of the workbook.
Choose one verse from this week’s lesson to memorize. Write it here and meditate on it. Encourage someone this week by sharing at least one of your verses from the Psalms.
God’s blessings upon His children inspire confidence within difficulties, and demonstrate His love to a watching world, so all the earth may fear Him. List what you learn from the related scriptural cross references. How do these insights enhance your understanding of the blessings of God and of those who have been blessed by God?
Count your many blessings! Name them one by one . . .