Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Real Blessing

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Some material taken from The Blessing by Sam Nobles
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

The Real Blessing
What does blessed mean to you? People say they are blessed when they have good things happen, or a lucky financial streak or a healthy family. Sam pointed out on Sunday that all these may be great gifts God gives us, but they are not necessarily His blessings for us.  Sometimes God’s blessings for us are couched in circumstances we would never consider blessings. Then somewhere down the road we realize how God was in control and all that happened was for a reason – and we have been blessed. These blessings are usually the ones that change our lives and bring us closer to God. In my own personal experience, they have started out hard, maybe even painful, but ended up making me a better person. Sam’s words on Sunday said it the best:

In the midst of painful events, you experience God’s richest blessings. A stronger faith than you had experienced before. A deeper love than you had ever known. A more intimate walk than you could ever explain. Your trials will ground your faith in ways that prosperity and abundance never can. While trials may not be blessings in and of themselves, they are channels through which God’s blessings flow into our lives. – Sam Nobles

Material possessions and even health can disappear in an instant. Even the precious people He gives us have not been promised us forever. We all know the painful truth and reality of sickness, tragedy and death. Loss feels nothing like blessing. We cannot base our belief in God’s love for us or His favor for us on circumstances or events that happen in our lives, or our lack of worldly possessions. It is easy to feel like God doesn’t care for us when things are hard. Be careful – hard times are often blessings in disguise. A wise friend told me that God will keep us tethered to Him with whatever will keep us at His feet, and nothing keeps us at His feet like hard times. But at His feet the blessings flow beyond anything we could ever imagine. Also, hard times are often consequences of bad choices we have made and have nothing to do with how much God loves us. However, He does loves us enough to allow us to experience whatever will help us change and grow, which means that even our bad choices can eventually flow into blessings. 

In the Old Testament, some of the blessings we read are based on special favor granted by God followed by joy and prosperity. One example is Isaac blessing Jacob before he sent him to Paddan Aram to Laban’s house to find a wife: May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.  May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham. Genesis 28:3-4

Most of the Old Testament blessings had three common elements:

  1. The greater blesses the lesser.
  2. The blessing is a sign of special favor that results in prosperity and success.
  3. The blessing is a petition for God’s blessing – May God Almighty bless you

The New Testament is a little different with blessings being more spiritual in nature. Jesus’ last words to the disciples were a blessing. - When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Luke 24:52  Jesus was always declaring that no matter what difficulties we face, the promises of God and His salvation and eternal life should bring us happiness and favor with God. Blessing.

The truest blessing we will ever know is discovering our completeness in God and finding full satisfaction and contentment in Him alone. We can then see the reality of who we are and what we have in Him. Blessings draw us closer to Him where we see the real blessing is Him, not anything He gives us or anything we can achieve or attain.

Lara Cook

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