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NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: Psalm 134

Discussion Questions:

  • What images or concepts does the word “bless” bring to your mind?
  • Does the phrase, “Bless the Lord” sound more like an invitation or a command to you? Explain your answer.
  • How frequently do you reaffirm to God your commitment to Him?

Food for thought:

Bless. We use that word, or one of its variations, in so many ways. Some folks have a blessing before their meals, a prayer asking God to bless the food for nourishment and/or thanking Him for the food. Anytime something good happens to a believer, the person is apt to say God blessed them, whether that means they got a parking spot close to the entrance or they were led to a close fellowship of other believers or something else. In the South a sneeze is often met with, “Bless you!” or a tale of woe elicits the response, “Bless your heart.” Sometimes we even use the word in a negative sense: “He blessed me out!”

But what does the Bible say? Turns out, the term is used in different ways there too. Author and pastor Eugene H. Peterson looked at its use specifically in Psalm 134, the final of the Psalms of Ascent. Two Hebrew words, he points out, are translated as “blessed” in our English Bibles. One means the sense of wellbeing or good fortune we often associate with the word. That word in Scripture is only used of humans, never of God.

But that is not the word found in Psalm 134. When the psalm exhorts us to “bless the Lord” (Psalm 134:1), it is not encouraging us to give God some sense of good fortune. How would we ever do that for God? No, this is the other Hebrew word. It speaks of the covenant God establishes with His people and the work He does among them. When you “lift up your hands … and bless the Lord” (v. 2), you are reaffirming and celebrating that covenant.

“Bless the Lord ” comes as an invitation. As people of God, we are invited to recognize and again affirm our covenant relationship with our Lord. “Bless the Lord ” also serves as a command. God expects His people to continually re-devote ourselves to Him who has redeemed us. What better way to sense wellbeing than to focus our minds on our relationship with God?

MasterWork

MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at lifeway.com/masterwork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Resources.

    About the Author

  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources