Pondering God (Part 14)

14 May. God is.... the Blessed God. Now this might sound a bit redundant or unusual to you. Am I saying that God is the dispenser of blessings? Sort of, but not quite. He's not the eternal Pez dispenser. In fact, blessed sounds like an objective adjective. That is, He is the recipient of blessings, which makes no sense to those who know that He is above it all. In other words, He needs to receive no blessing since He IS blessed.
Usually I write my own devotional thoughts on these ideas, but when I found John Piper had written something so clearly to explain this, I feel it best to cite him particularly and quote his answer to this odd adjective.
John Piper: "My thesis is that in the Scripture when God "blesses" men they are thereby helped and strengthened and made better off than they were before, but when men "bless" God he is not helped or strengthened or made better off. Rather (with C. A. Keller in THAT, I, 361) man's blessing God is an "expression of praising Thankfulness" (ein lobendes Danksagen), when the OT speaks of blessing God it does not "designate a pro­cess that aims at the increase of God's strength" (THAT, I, 361). It is an "exclamation of gratitude and admiration" (THAT, I, 357).
This is not at all a strange semantic phenomenon. If God is the primal and inexhaustible "blesser," then he must be above all others in a "blessed" state—the fullness and source of all "blessing." If this is so, then a most nat­ural burst of praise would be "You are blessed!" That this recognition and joyful exclamation of God's blessedness should then be described as "blessing God" is not unusual. Other analogies, though not exact, would be our expressions like: "I mag­nify the Lord" or "Let us exalt his name." Both of these expressions properly recognize and give joyful expression to God's magnificence and his exalted status. They do not mean that we make God larger or higher. So to bless God means to recognize his great richness, strength, and gracious bounty and to express our gratitude and delight in seeing and experiencing it."
Piper goes on to cite some Older Testament uses of the word 'bless' as a verb to apply to some action we take towards the Lord. 
Deuteronomy 8:10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
Here "bless" is virtually identical to "thank" or "gratefully recognize as the giver of blessing."
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 145:10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!
Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Psalm 96:2-3 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
Here bless probably means: joyfully announce all these good things about God."
Does that help you today?
Then let us with full voice give thanks and Bless the Blessed God!


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