Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015 “Gesundheit”

“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites:  You shall say to them, Thus you shall bless the Israelites:  You shall say to them,  The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:23-27)

Good Morning Everyone. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

It is highly likely that most, if not all of you, have at one time or another heard or employed the German word “Gesundheit”, roughly translated to mean “God bless you, or “good health.” Like the English “Bless you,” it is conventionally said to someone who has just sneezed. This reflects the superstition that a sneeze can cause the soul to fly out of the body and saying the phrase prevents this from happening. The word actually mimics the sound of a sneeze itself. Of course, saying this will in no way prevent the soul from “flying out of the body”, nor should there be any concern on the part of the one sneezing that this could possibly happen. The word “Gesundheit” carries no real authority…no more so than the casually uttered phrase “God bless you.” This is not to say that praying that the manifold blessings of God come to someone carries no authority. It is meant to be much more than an act of courtesy or casually spoken words to someone with an allergy or a head cold. Throughout scripture, we read of occasions where God’s blessing is pronounced on individuals and even nations. But when we read of these occurrences, these blessings are always pronounced with divine authority. A German theologian and author named Basiela Schlink said this about the blessings of the Lord:

“It takes spiritual authority to bless others. Many Christians say, “God bless you,” but one clearly senses that although the words express a kind wish, they lack real spiritual authority.” 

Real spiritual authority comes from the source of that authority…Almighty God. In the passage referenced, God directs Moses to speak to his brother Aaron and tell him “Thus you shall bless the Israelites:  You shall say to them,  The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” God, through Moses, gives the authority to Aaron to pronounce the blessings of God upon the children of Israel. On his own authority, these words spoken by Aaron carried no weight. By his own authority, Moses directive to Aaron would likewise have carried no weight. But through God’s authority came the imputed authority of blessing. Our authority to call for God’s blessings to come to someone is a gift of God, who alone is “the giver of every good and perfect gift.” Does this mean it’s wrong of us to pray for God’s blessings to be manifested in someone’s life? No, but as we do, it should be with the understanding that it is more than a mere casual or polite gesture. Spiritual authority comes from the One who has the authority…the Lord. This, then, is my prayer for you today:  “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.  Amen!

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