God Blessed Them …

Genesis 1:27-28 (Amp)

27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.

And God blessed them … bârak (baw-rak’) – blessed – pronounced very much like our current President’s first name. (Ironic in some ways.) Bârak is a unique Hebrew word with no English equivalent. Sometimes it is translated as Praise or sometimes Curse. It can be used to express several different meanings:

  1. to bless, kneel
    1. (Qal)
      1. to kneel
      2. to bless
    2. (Niphal) to be blessed, bless oneself
    3. (Piel) to bless
    4. (Pual) to be blessed, be adored
    5. (Hiphil) to cause to kneel
    6. (Hithpael) to bless oneself
  2. to praise, salute, curse

Words like this can leave room for interpretation. I’m guessing that this blessing has nothing to do with 1a, 1b, and 1f. And I’m quite sure 1e is not applicable here either. I guess it could carry the 2nd meaning, but that doesn’t seem to fit here.  So we are left with 1c and 1d. Both Piel and Paul are often used as the result of divine favor. In reference to God causing someone or something to prosper. I guess it really doesn’t matter which of those we use.

God blessed them … Do you feel blessed by God? Take a few minutes to consider His blessing in your life. How has he blessed you? The question I was asked that brought on this blog was, “Identify the areas of your marriage in which you are experiencing God’s blessing.” If you are married, think about that one for just a moment. Or maybe the question for you might be, “Identify the areas of your job in which you are experiencing God’s blessing.” Or maybe your schooling, your retirement, your life.

God blessed them … notice that He blessed them and then said, it seems as though what we are about to read that He said would be in someway connected to His blessing them, wouldn’t you think? Do you think it would be right to put a period there? God blessed them [full stop]. I think in many ways that is exactly how we live our lives. All we want is what God has to give to us. Give us your blessing God – thank you. We don’t want to any requirements or work on our part. It doesn’t say that God blessed them IF … it just says God blessed them. So I guess we really could stop there, but should we? What if we can only get the full blessing if we keep reading? What if God has so much more for us than what we are asking for?

God blessed them … and then what? He said … what did He say? Let’s find out. He said …

… Be fruitful, multiply, and fill – hmm so I guess if I’m single or can’t have children, I don’t have to do this, or I am relieved of this responsibility right? Wrong! We look at this all wrong based on what has become the normative meaning of this. Let’s examine these words a little closer. Fruitful is the word pârâh (paw-raw’) it implies bearing fruit, to grow or increase. We all do this around holidays, hahaha!  Jesus talked about trees bearing good fruit and bad fruit – but He was really talking about people. He also said what happens to those trees if they are no fruitful. I think this is something we need to consider. Multiply … multiply means to increase. Fill … means to fill, be full, replenish.

Just because we typically think of the fruit of humans in relation to children, doesn’t mean this is all about having kids. As Christians, we can successfully bear fruit, grow, increase, fill, and replenish in many areas of our lives and on this earth. I think as Christians this would go hand and hand with what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19. So some questions to ask are:  “Am I being fruitful? Am I multiplying? Am I bearing good fruit or bad? I am increasing the good or the bad in this world? Am I filling or replenishing whatever it is that I take out of this world?” Well, are you? Take some time to consider this.

God blessed them … and said, subdue. Subdue carries with it the meaning of treading down, conquering, bringing into bondage. Huh? What? That doesn’t sound very nice now does it? In conjunction with this is the word dominion which adds the meanings of prevailing against, reigning over, ruling. None of this has anything to do with other people, it strictly has to do with the earth and the things within it. This verse goes on to list those things. Basically, we are to be over the land and the animals. That means people come before the environment and people come before animals. I’m sure many don’t want to hear that but it is true. It is right here. So if cutting down a tree can save a person’s life – cut the tree down. If you have the choice between bringing in a person out of the cold or bringing in a dog, bring the person in. This doesn’t mean we should abuse the system, like cutting down trees to make room for more buildings when there are buildings falling apart right down the street. Nor leaving a dog out in the cold because it’s just a dog. No! It just gives us a pecking order per se. Part of being a good ruler is taking care of your subjects and the kingdom, for us that would mean the people, the animals, the plants, the environments, everything in and on the earth.

God blessed them … and gave them things to do. So, what are you doing? What contributions are you making to this world? Let me just point out that money is not listed there anywhere. Neither is fame or fortune. Those are intangible as it relates to what God looks at. Have you poured into someone else’s life? Have you cleaned up your environment?

Are we accepting the blessing without the doing? Are we just sitting around enjoying God’s blessing without fulfilling the duties He gave us? Are you being fruitful, multiplying, filling, subduing, and having dominion? If not and you couldn’t identify the areas in which you are experiencing God’s blessing, you may have your answer as to why not.

God has already blessed you – now what are you going to do?

Additional Resources

The Doctrine of Barak

Genesis 1:28 Commentaries

Lexicon Entries in Old Testament


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