“God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth’” (Gen. 1:22). This is the first time we encounter God blessing a part of his creation. Consequently, this blessing serves as a prototype, teaching us the purpose of God’s blessing and how it applies to the church in the present age.
The first thing that strikes us about God’s blessing is that it empowers. The text implies that without the Lord’s blessing the birds and sea creatures would be barren, unable to reproduce. God’s blessing gives power to reproduce: it enables his creatures to fulfil his will. Without God’s blessing there is no enabling and no fullness on earth. Even in this blessing we see God’s way of slowly bringing increase. God’s animal kingdom starts off small like a mustard seed, but soon it will fill the whole earth.
It is important for us to reflect on how God starts things: God gives a blessing but he does not do everything for his creatures. Rather he gives them ability and instinct, and with this ability and instinct the creature fulfils God’s purpose to fill the earth with his grace. Therefore, we see that even the birds and sea animals are participating in God’s story and testimony. The Lord sets the stage and groundwork for the creatures to “live, move and have their being,” but they must carry out his will. When God’s work is finished then the work of the creatures begin, not in their own power but in the power of God’s Word.