Psalm 67:5-7 “Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!
A common refrain among believers is the encouragement of God’s blessing. If the hope is for God to bless a work or an endeavor, a nice way to seal a prayer or affirm people is to hope for God to bless them.
There are times when someone is striving to change their life, other times a missionary is being sent into the field, an upcoming surgery, a pregnancy, a family move, or new job–the opportunities for a “God Bless you” is abundant. We often offer a blessing in hopes that God’s hand is upon those we love, and yet we assume God’s position when we place our stamp of approval in God’s name.
When we wish God’s blessings to someone who opposes God’s Word, or one who might disagree with a particular christian position, what are we actually saying? Does God bless people who reject His Word? Will the Lord approve of a same-sex marriage that is ungodly or the union of two people unequally yoked?
When we place a “God bless you” as a stamp of God’s approval, do we err in our estimation of God’s view of holiness or do we mislead people into thinking God turns a blind eye to sin only because our culture approves?
Hebrews 13:7-8 “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
The Lord does not change, culture may change, people may change, but God never changes. People who compromise their view of God’s Word are more worried about the world’s view of them. The world hates how God’s Word defines life. It’s easier to pretend nothing is wrong with sin if everyone around you is celebrating it. It’s no wonder marriages fail at the rate we see today, and should we be surprised that so many young people have rejected any notion of their parents faith when all they see is a shadow of what living in righteousness should be.
God Blesses Righteousness
When God spoke to Moses, He gave him specific instructions on how to bless His people.
Numbers 6:22-26 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’
The Hebrew word for bless is the word Barak. Barak is a Hebrew word that calls us to kneel in submission before our God. When we kneel before God in submission, God approves of our worship. For God “to bless” someone is to confer or invoke divine favour, and that favour comes by His grace and mercy. Grace and mercy were revealed at the cross when Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind. Jesus purchased His people by the blood of His redemption. As the Shepherd, Jesus keeps His people and leads them in peace.
When we exclaim to someone for God to bless them, we are in essence hoping for them to acknowledge God as Sovereign over their lives, with the hope they see God’s faithfulness. If we proclaim God’s blessing over someone who has rejected God, the only measure of blessing to be had is through God revealing the gospel to them. The only “keeping” of sinners is only to repent or for judgement. If we proclaim to a lesbian couple for God to bless them, we are in essence asking God to bring them to their knees. It is at that place of humility, when repentance occurs, that God will then lift them up. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t understand this, so if we bless a sinful relationship, they receive it as a stamp of approval.
When God blesses, He is approving of righteousness, but the approval is in regards to what He does, or what His people do in Him.
God approves of all that is good. Since only God is good, only those who are led by God can produce good works. Everything God does, He does in righteousness. God’s righteousness is defined by His perfection. When we are encouraged to walk in righteousness, we are encouraged to live according to His moral law, an endeavor only made possible by the power of His Spirit in His people.
God Blesses Faithfulness
A question I’ve always had is the reason for pronouncing blessing toward God? When David spoke to Abigail he was thankful to God that she stopped his hand from bloodshed. Why would someone need to bless God? Is God not already blessed?
1 Samuel 25:32 “Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!”
When people bow in submission before God, they do it in thanksgiving. David recognized God’s hand in leading Abigail to change his course, this recognition brought praise to God. As David continued his proclamation, he recognized Abigails righteousness and the benefits of those who live faithfully.
vs. 33 “Blessed is your discernment, and blessed are you, because today you kept me from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.”
When Abigail discerned between what was right and what was wrong, David blessed it. David was thanking God for what He showed her. When God blesses us, He leads us in righteousness—when we bless God, we show forth our thanks.
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”
Trust is a product of faithfulness. Abigail had to trust God that David wouldn’t have her killed. She acted in faith when she took a stand. We have to trust God that He is leading us in the way we should go. The only way to know God’s leading is for us to listen.
Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
Paul was reiterating Isaiah’s question found in Isaiah 53:1. The majority of the world will reject the gospel. The report God gave to Isaiah concerning the coming Messiah was the same report God gave to Paul once Jesus was revealed. God’s people today have the same report given to them—–but who will listen?
God Blesses His People
The world cannot see the blessings of God. The environmentalist recognizes the beauty of God’s Creation without acknowledging God. The painter sees the light without recognizing the light of Christ. The astronomer stands in awe at the expanse of the universe and fails to see who formed it by His hand.
The man and woman of God recognizes God’s faithfulness and worships Him.
1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
The world rejects God’s love, His call, His plans, and His promises.
Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
All that is left for an unbelieving world is a curse.
It seems preposterous that anyone could or would reject so great of a salvation, so promising of a hope, and such joy in God’s keeping……but they do. It might be pride, it could be their self-reliance, but it’s likely their sin that separates them. The world lives in darkness and can’t see the light on their own—we have to show them.
If you find yourself struggling to see the blessings of God, it might just be sin that is separating you from the blessing. Get on your knees and humble yourself before the Lord, repent of your sin and the darkness will be lifted. The blessings of God are boundless—they have no end. What you’ve missed before, still waits for you.
If you find yourself on your knees, you will find yourself blessed, for it is the Lord who will now lift you up.