Saying “God Bless You” Is So Much More Than a Greeting

What does it mean when we say “God bless you”?

These are very important words, but often spoken and received too lightly. When a person sneezes, there’s always someone in the crowd who says, “Bless you.” Others proclaim “God bless you” without really knowing God, or what His blessings are about. It becomes a cultural statement.

Is this phrase just a byword, a way of being nice? Has it become so routine a habit that we confer it upon everyone when it ought to be special? Actually, it means putting yourself on the line with God and asking for His divine favor to rest upon the person you are blessing. Perhaps that is why the apostle John, in his second epistle, verses 9-11, informs us that if anyone comes to us who is not preaching the Gospel, or does not believe what Christ taught, we are not to invite them into our home or bless them. If we do, we become a partner in their wickedness. I personally am very careful not to say “God bless you” to those who come to my door preaching another Jesus.

God was lavish with His blessings to His people in the Old Testament. See how He pronounced a blessing on Abraham, that through him the whole world would be blessed in the coming of the Messiah. To Israel He made a covenant of the land, saying that they would plant their crops for six years and let the land rest during the seventh. In fact, in Leviticus 25:21, God said that if they were worried about what they would eat for that seventh year, He would command His blessing on them during the sixth year and the land would bring forth sufficient fruit for three years. What a powerful blessing!

God personally gave Aaron a blessing to give to the Children of Israel:

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee;

The Lord make His face shine upon thee,

and be gracious unto thee;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,

and give thee peace”  (Numbers 6:24,25)

It was a custom for the father to pronounce a blessing on his children. He would lay his hands on them and pronounce the favor of God upon the child. It was a holy sacred thing. Could it be that some of our children are losing their way because they have never felt that blessing from their fathers?

In our churches, we dedicate children. We bring the newborn baby for a special time of blessing. The pastor places hands on the child and confers the favor of God on the little one. Biblical? Yes, indeed!

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Jesus certainly thought so, as well! The disciples brought the children to Him. He took them in His arms, and with His hands, blessed them (Mark 10:16).  As His ambassadors, should we do less?

I have a new granddaughter, named Nicole. Recently, she accompanied her mother to the grocery store. My daughter is accustomed to people stopping to smile at her baby, but this particular day an elderly lady approached her, laid her hands on Nicole’s head and said sweetly, “The Lord bless you, dear. May you walk in His favor all of your life.” My daughter came away with a warm glow in her spirit, for a stranger had taken the time to confer a blessing on a newborn, in the name of the Lord.

Proverbs 10:22 states, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it” (KJV). Let us be people who are lavish in our blessing, but who are sincere and understanding that we have the right to confer God’s blessings on others. And let’s begins with our families!


(This post was written by Gladys in 1988 for Foursquare Advance magazine. She mentions her granddaughter Nicole – LifeWords Today’s own Nikki Romani, who has, indeed, walked in God’s favor all her life!)


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