Bless God by Spreading His Name
Yael Eckstein | January 11, 2023
He said, “Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.” —Exodus 18:10
One of the founding principles of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is God’s eternal promise He made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you.” This is one of 12 devotions exploring the concept of blessing, barak, which is so important to both Christians and Jews.
In yesterday’s devotion, I pointed out that the Hebrew word for “blessing” actually means “increase” or “abundance.” We saw that from the first time the word appears in the Bible, when God “blessed” the fish and birds and blessed them with abundance.
When we bless God, what we are actually saying to Him is, “We want more of You!” More God means that we see Him more. It means that more people are aware of Him and have a relationship with Him. It means that God is a more tangible presence in our lives.
So when Jews bless God when we wake up in the morning, before and after anything we eat, after we go to the bathroom, and too many other situations to list, we are really declaring that we want to see God in everything we experience. We want more of God in the world.
Spreading His Name
One of the main ways we “increase” God in the world is by teaching others about Him. In fact, the entire mission of Israel, and all who worship God, is to bring knowledge of God to more people. We bless God by spreading His name.
We see this in the Bible soon after the Exodus from Egypt. The children of Israel had just crossed through the dry ground of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army was destroyed. And Moses’ father in-law, Jethro, traveled out to the desert to meet with Moses and Israel.
Upon hearing about all that God had done for Israel, Jethro exclaimed, “Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly” (vv. 10-11).
The word “praise” here is actually baruch, which literally means “blessed.” Jethro had spent his life as a pagan priest of the Midianites. But now, having heard about all that God had done for Israel, his reaction was to “bless” Him. The use of this word is significant, because when Jethro, an outsider from a pagan background, saw the truth of God, it made God’s name grow in the world.
The more people learn about God, the bigger His name becomes. God was already known to Moses and Israel. Now with a leader of Midian seeing the truth of what He had done, God’s name grew. In other words, God was blessed.
How can you bless God’s name this week and cause it to grow in your home, in your neighborhood, and in the world?