"Bless Jehovah, O my soul. O Jehovah my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty," (Ps104:1)
There was a time when Christians knew what it means. But a transmutation began in the middle of the last century. Instead of coming into God's -holy- presence with respect, the hippy generation, which in so-called "christian" circles was also characterized by the "Jesus People" movement, but since they were actually -of- the world, those who emulated Three Dog Night's party spirit of "Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music", brought the world's dance into the church. They came, not to "prostrate" themselves (Ex24:1) in confession of sin, nor to do "homage" to God (Lk4:8, Jn4:20-24); but to -celebrate-.
There are only three instances of "celebrate" in the Bible: The national holiday regarding Purim when Israel was delivered from Haman (Es9), when rebellious Israel insisted it would continue worshiping (celebrating) the Queen of Heaven (Jer44:25), and when Herod celebrated his birthday which incident resulted in John being beheaded. (Mt14:6-11) And yet, on signs in front of how many churches today does not one see the invitation to "Come, Celebrate with us!"
The 'Jesus People' celebrated what? Themselves. Feeling good. Feeling pumped up. Having a good time, like they were used to at the Three Dog Night and other such concerts. But to turn the world's sensuality into something 'acceptable' to the "old fogies" in church, they changed it and were feeling 'blessed' (among other things).
That new blessing, in turn, was transmogrified into a ritual: Blessing this, blessing that, blessing people, and yes... while throbbing to the sensuous music with upraised hands, propped up by half-hearted elbows against one's side, lazily fluttering the eyelashes, in hushed soft-raspy swoony voice, "Bless you Jesus"
These "blessing" rituals were based from out of a new theology that was emerging. Parallel to the western hippies' new-found affinity for TM and Yoga in which 'self' became deified; in so-called christian circles 'self' was also becoming elevated to where some charismatic preachers even proclaim man's self-godhood. God proclaims "I AM that I AM"; and these preachers smile, giggle and say, "I am, too." And so, as these people "bless Jesus" it is as if they are -bestowing- this alleged "blessing" -upon- Jesus.
But what does Scripture say?
WHAT IS THE SCRIPTURAL VIEW ON BLESSING?
First of all, we must understand definition of terms. In our opening verses the word "bless" is defined in the Hebrew lexicons as: to kneel, to bless, to be blessed, to praise. In the NT the lexicon says: blessed, praise; and comes from a related word meaning: praise, invoke blessings, to consecrate a thing, to bestow favors upon.
Since some of those definitions define the word by itself, looking in an English dictionary we find: 1) to make holy, to sanctify, 2) to invoke Divine favor upon 3) to honor as holy, to glorify 4) to confer well-being upon 5) to endow, as with talent.
As we can see, there are many meanings, subtleties and applications. If we think back to Isaac's blessing of Jacob and Esau, and Jacob's blessing of the 12 sons, we see #4 & #5. There are some who claim to know a lot about these things, and teach entire doctrines on the blessing of children and such things. I am not such an expert, nor is that the topic of this article, so we'll leave that aspect for now; realizing that it exists.
Notice in the Hebrew the first word that comes up is "kneel". In the context of worship of the Most High God, does that not fit the OT pattern of bowing down and prostrating (Ge24:48,52, De9:25, 2Ch29:30) and the NT expression to "do homage" (Mt4:10,8:2 Jn4:20-24) If you are reading a translation that says "worship" in those places, please understand that the words bow, prostrate and homage are the actual words in the originals. We've also addressed this matter in the past: "Worship? -no- Bow Down, Do Homage!"
Notice the NT definition to "consecrate" which agrees with the English dictionary "to make holy, to sanctify" and "to honor as holy".
In the opening verse, a popular verse used in many songs and choruses of praise: we bless His -HOLY- name.
Holy means: Set apart, set aside, distinguished from the rest, and such ideas. This world is sinful. God is holy...as distinguished from sin. When a person is holy unto God, they set themself -apart- from the world and unto God. There is NO SUCH THING as bringing the world's sensuality and lust before God and calling it "holy". He does not accept it. We do not go out partying with the Three Dogs on Saturday Night, and get up Sunday morning continuing to provocatively slither ourselves into "church" on Sunday morning, and allege to be worshiping (blessing) the -Holy- God. Here's what God said to Israel about that...
God is "very" great. He is "issimo" ... "superlative". He is of the highest order and surpassing or superior to all others.
The so-called "Jesus People" were ashamed of God's holiness. They could not stand to be without the world's filth and trash of their Nights with the Three Dogs, bringing it into places designated to represent God's presence in corporate worship. Being ashamed of God's holiness, they obviously did not view it as something of "beauty". But of the new heavens and earth, that which will be newly perfect, it says of them,
You cannot run (in the night in darkness 1Th5:5) with the dogs, sniffing and being sniffed, conjuring the "gods of this age" (2Co4:4), and then appear in some building with more of the world's party music, wiggling to it behaving like seductive prostitutes, and calling to the demons to be "spirit-filled" and expect God to receive your "blessings" of alleged 'praise'!!
And... just WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE to "bless Jesus"??
For all that is wrong with Babylon, they at least have one expression that is appropriate to this discussion. They go into a little closet and express to the person on the other side of the divider, "Bless me father for I have sinned."
If we are discussing the blessing of "impartation", that is the only blessing we can plead. In spirit, that is the definition of "repentance". Since most people don't believe in it, they will never see God's glory. But when the sinner comes to God and cries out, "be merciful to me a sinner!" (Lk18:13) what that asks is for God's impartation/imputation (blessing) of cleansing and righteousness.
Salvation is imparted -from- God -to- the sinner. Even once we are saved, we have absolutely NO MERIT or standing whereby -we- can impart a 'blessing' -upon- God. All things come -from- God. (2Co5:18) In God all things "live and move and exist". (Ac17:28) And in salvation -He- has "BLESSED US with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ" (Eph1:3)
If we wish to impart some good-will to another person, even in that, we have no ability to -effect- any sort of change upon that person. We are not even able to "make one hair white or black" (Mt5:36) The most we can do is to say, "If the Lord wills..." this, that or the other thing can happen. (Ja4:15)
We are not little gods. We do not 'own' the power, that we can snap our fingers and 'wield' it! The power that is available to us is God's power "toward" us. (Eph1:19) Anything that happens to our benefit comes from God. And any well-wishes we might have for another, if it happens for them, that too comes from God to them; from God... not, from us!
So, if we are to "bless the Lord", all we can do is come to God and -kneel- before Him, prostrate ourselves before His holiness, and "confess my sin and the sin of my people" (Dan9:20) Only then, can we expect anything from the Lord.
Otherwise, the only blessing we can do towards God is the acknowledgement of His greatness, and that He is clothed with honor and majesty "far above all the heavens" (Eph4:10) and "all gods" (Ps97:9)
Is our praise of God all solemn? Of course not! Once Atonement has been made, where they were to "afflict [their] souls", and the scapegoat has been sent into the wilderness (Le16,23) where our sins have been removed "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps103:12); then comes the Feast of Booths, "Emmanuel...God with us" (Mt1:23), which is observed: "You shall rejoice... you shall be joyful" (De16:14-15)