Now that we’ve dealt with special uses of the Greek word for “blessed” (makarios), we can turn our attention to the passages that are true “beatitudes,” general blessings on various groups of people. There’s a fair amount of depth to the uses of the word, including a few surprises.
We should begin, I suppose, with an unsurprising group. Several passages speak of those whom God has chosen as blessed.
- In his final blessing of the tribes of Israel just before his death, Moses sums up his prophecy with a general blessing on all Israel: Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, Who is the shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, And you will tread upon their high places (Dt 33.29).
- In a familiar passage the Psalmist writes, Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance (Ps 33.12; cf 144.15).
- And in a focus on the individual, David writes, How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple (Ps 65.4).
Sometimes God’s (chosen) people are described in slightly different ways:
- Those whose help is God: How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God (Ps 146.5).
- Those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ” And he said to me, “These are true words of God” (Re 19.9).
- The one who has a part in the first resurrection: Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (Re 20.6).
And often God’s people are identified in ways having to do with their trust or faith in him:
- Those who trust in the Lord: How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood (Ps 40.4; cf 84.12).
- Those who take refuge in him: Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Ps 2.12).
- Those whose hope is in God: How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God (Ps 146.5)
- Those who long for God: Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him! (Is 30.18).
- Those who dwell in God’s house: How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You (Ps 84.4).
- Those whose strength is in God: How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion! (Ps 84.5).
- Those who find wisdom: How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding (Pr 3.13; cf 8.34).
- Those who fear the Lord: Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments (Ps 112.1; cf 128.1; Pr 28.14).
- Those who know the joyful sound: How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance (Ps 89.15).
- Those whose sin is forgiven: How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! (Ps 32.1-2).
- Those whom God enables to understand: But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear (Mt 13.16 // Lk 10.23).
- Those who believe without seeing: Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (Jn 20.29).
Next time: there’s more!