By Brandon Lemons
Every Sunday in November, we are studying a benediction from the Bible. What is a benediction? “Benediction” comes from a Latin word that means “bless” or “speak well.” It is a declaration of blessing from one person to another, typically invoking God’s presence and empowerment in the other person’s life. A benediction sounds a lot like a prayer, but it isn’t a request so much as a statement of what is true. In churches, benedictions frequently occur at the end of worship services. In the Bible, a common place to find benedictions is at the end of letters. This timing of benedictions as conclusions highlights that benedictions are frequently acts of sending people into the world, empowered by God.
We studied a wonderful benediction this past Sunday as we dug into Hebrews 13:20-21 in the conclusion of the Jesus is Better series. Starting this next Sunday, we will launch a series called Blessings: A Study of Biblical Benedictions. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the primary purpose of this series is to help us recognize the blessings we have from God – especially the gift of God Himself and the fact that He has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The benedictions we study will help us remember that we have much to be thankful for, even when earthly circumstances are difficult. These benedictions are encouraging, will turn our eyes to God, and can give us confidence in our day-to-day lives.
I will close this preview of the Blessings series with the benediction we will be studying this Sunday: “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” (Numbers 6:24-26).