With regards to blessings we get careless sometimes and lose our perspective. Most times this is not disastrous for we are fallible human beings and getting things wrong is part of our nature but in some things it is necessary to get it right. In Sunday School we used to sing this; a chorus that went: All good gifts around us , Are sent from Heaven above, Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love. So simple and yet so powerfully true if we really understand what blessings are all about.
We sometimes lose our perspective on what is a blessing.
There are some who indulge in the religious fad of material prosperity as a sign of God's blessing and assert that if God is blessing you then you must have an abundance of money and wealth. These people take a simple and well meaning scripture like Psalm 1:3, and indeed there are many scriptures taken out of context and twisted to suit their purpose, and make the case that the Bible says that if you are "Blessed" (Psalm 1:1) then you have to be materially prosperous, "...and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psalm 1:3) This is a clear case of obfuscation, where a complex concept is trivialised and deliberately abused to suit man-made doctrine.
If these false teachers are right it means that the most blessed people on earth is the mafia, the drug lords and the like for these people have so much money and wealth that they buy whole governments, pile up money so high that whole houses cannot contain it, have posh houses and villas all over the world, have private the jets and yachts so luxurious that even heads of states and royalty can only imagine and envy. But we know these people are not blessed for they are killing one another daily, they live in daily dread of the heavy hand of the law descending on their criminal neck and they fear every waking moment believing that someone is about to get them; by bomb or by bullet or by poison or by some other means.
No, such people as these are not blessed because they have just one component of blessing and the other components that are crucial, and are far more important, are missing.
To better understand this let us use an analogy.
Everyone understands the value of a good education and someone who is well educated is generally well respected in the community. A good education results from several components; discipline, tenacity, perseverance, mental skills, insightfulness, attention to detail, passing of exams, a diploma and other components. A learned person puts his diploma on the wall to show that he has been through the process successfully and the diploma is merely the visual verification.
A thieving vagrant may break into that home and steal the diploma and display it on his wall and what does he have? He has the honourable diploma on display but he only has to speak a few words for you to know that he has none of the characteristics of a sound education. This is because all he has acquired by theft, some people buy their diplomas from diploma mills, is but one component of a multi-faceted complex.
Those who teach this prosperity gospel without understanding the whole ramification of the doctrine is like this thieving vagrant; but in a spiritual sense.
We need to understand God's blessings.
God's blessings are far more than material prosperity for it involves not just things but right relationships.
Here is how the Bible portrays God's blessings and being blessed:
"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is." (Jeremiah 17:7) This is a relationship based on respect for God and the expectation of future joy and everlasting happiness with him.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." (PSALM 33:12) This is a relationship based on the choice of The Sovereign Lord as the one to serve and in whom to delight.
"Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them." (Psalm 84:5) This speaks to one having committed himself to the precepts and practices godly living as declared in God's word.
"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8) This speaks to one living a redeemed life, one whose sins are submerged in Christ and hence seen by God as blameless and pure in his sight.
And because these blessings are conditional on a relationship with God, they are unsullied and have a quality and character to them that enhances and uplifts the recipient. The Bible puts it like this:
"The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." (Proverbs 10:22) This speaks to the blessings that come from the Lord as the result of his graciousness towards us and they come without laborious effort and travail and agony and strife and they are gladly shared and passed around without sorrow and distress. Not so much easy come easy go but rather graciously given and gracefully communicated.
The Supreme blessings come from God alone
Sometimes believers get carried away when they seek a blessing from their minister or pastor and act as if that person has some magic wand to waive and enrich their life with a special quality, to give them something sacred and hallowed to enrich their life. While it is true individuals can confer blessing, they are in truth merely the mail carrier delivering the blessing from on high. This truth is made absolutely clear when God told Moses to teach Aaron and the priesthood how to confer a blessing. Here are the relevant verses:
"22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:22-26)
Notice the three verses of the above blessing begin:
The LORD bless...
The LORD make...
The LORD lift...
It is and always will be THE LORD, for it is God himself that takes care of this business and to remove forever this doubt the very next verse clinches it.
"And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I WILL BLESS THEM." (Numbers 6:27)
John Gill in his Bible Commentary sums this up very well:
"...and I will bless them; really and truly bless them bless them with blessings indeed; with all sorts of blessings temporal and spiritual; with solid and substantial ones; and such are blessed, and will remain so, their blessings are irrevocable and irreversible; and unless the Lord blesses, in vain do the priests bless, or any of his ministers pronounce a blessing; theirs lies in words and wishes, his in real facts; they can only pray and wish for the blessing, it is he only that can give it, and can ratify and confirm what they declare and pronounce, according to his revealed word."
Believers need to be reminded that since they are in Christ, they are complete, whole, not in need of anything, not lacking in any blessing or work of grace or divine favour (whatever may be your material circumstances) for in Christ whatever is needed is added and there are no insufficiencies. The Bible confirms this most beautifully:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)
Believers in Christ are blessed and it's God's gracious doing. I am blessed, you are blessed, we are blessed and there is only one thing left to be said. Amen.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013