December 13 - LD 50, Day 4: Seeking God’s Blessing with Our Bread
by Rev. Martyn McGeown
Proverbs 3:33 - “The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”
As soon as our children are old enough to utter the words, we teach them a simple prayer, “Lord, bless this food and drink. Forgive my sins. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.” So familiar is this prayer to Reformed families that it is often called “Lord, bless.”
This is a good and appropriate prayer. In this prayer, we teach our children that their food will not profit them without God’s blessing. That is why we ask God to bless our food and drink. LD 50 expresses this idea: “that we may thereby acknowledge … that neither our care nor industry, nor even Thy gifts, can profit us without Thy blessing.” Therefore, the important thing is not so much the food, but the blessing with the food.
But what is a blessing? The word is so commonplace in our Christian vocabulary that we can lose sight of its meaning. The word “bless”, both in the Hebrew and Greek language, means to make a pronouncement upon someone or something. It means especially, therefore, to speak good concerning or good upon someone or something. A blessing is a good word. Specifically, a blessing is God’s good word, His speaking good upon or concerning something or someone. For example, God blessed man when He first made Adam and Eve: “So God created man… And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful…” (Gen 1:27-28); and God blessed the Sabbath: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it…” (Gen 2:3). God spoke a good word upon them.
Now, the blessing of God is the blessing of God Himself. Ultimately, only God can bless—your food can nourish you, but it cannot bless you; your house might shelter you, but it cannot bless you; your clothes might keep you warm, but they cannot bless you; your friends and family might comfort you and give you companionship, but they cannot bless you. And whom God blesses, He saves. God’s blessing is not like a lucky charm, or a well-meaning wish that nice things might happen to us. God’s blessing is the effectual, powerful Word of His favour, pronouncing good upon us and causing us to be blessed.
Therefore, when we pray in connection with the fourth petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and when we teach our children, “Lord, bless this food and drink,” we are asking God so to use the food which He gives us that it might profit us spiritually, that it might do us good—real, spiritual, eternal good.
And we pray that with confidence. God has promised to bless us; God delights to bless us; God will not withhold His blessing from us. All things (including our bread) serve our salvation and work together for our good (Rom 8:28).
With His blessing—only with His blessing.
- Date: December 13
Rev. Martyn McGeown
Pastorates: Missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland for the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland - 2010.Website: www.limerickreformed.com/
Address38 Abbeyvale, Corbally
Telephone(011) 35361 635582