The Blessing of the Lord by Mark Erickson - HTML preview
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What does it mean to have God’s blessing on your life? This is a question every individual needs to ask. The implications are enormous, once you understand what God’s blessing really involves. The blessing of God is powerful and life-changing, while the loss of God’s blessing is more serious than we have probably imagined. It will be fruitless to attempt to do something – even something great and noble - if the blessing of the Lord does not rest upon it. Yet with the blessing of the Lord, even our small steps of service will be taken far beyond what we could accomplish by our own effort alone. Every individual has gifts that God intends to use. Accompanied by His blessing, these gifts can have a powerful impact.
The blessing of the Lord is given for a mighty purpose. We will examine the purpose behind the blessing of the Lord, as well as a number of the outcomes of his blessing. The blessing of the Lord is transforming, and is centered on Christ. The blessing of the Lord is not for selfish purposes - it is to touch the needy and the hurting, and to bring honor and praise to God. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below!” is a familiar doxology in many parts of the world. As we understand and experience the power of His blessing, may our lives bring glory to the source - the living God.________
The power of God’s blessing is seen in God’s original promise to Abraham. God told Abraham, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing…. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Gen.12:2,3b, NIV). God promised Abraham a blessing so powerful that it was going to impact all the nations of the earth! The dynamic reality of the blessing of the Lord is that wonderful, and that powerful. The power of God’s blessing is continuing on today, and each of us can become a partaker and an instrument of His blessing.
When God later renewed the promise of blessing to Abraham, He promised that through Abraham and his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen.22:16-18). Christ is referred to as the seed of Abraham (Gal.3:16). Christ is the seed of Abraham, through whom all the nations on earth would be blessed. So through Abraham, and ultimately through Christ, the blessing of the Lord would flow to all the nations of the earth. The blessing of the Lord is indeed one of the great, overarching themes of the Word of God.
Jesus Christ is the life-giving Son of God, who brought God’s blessing to this earth. He took the curse of sin upon Himself, on the cross. He became a curse for us (Gal.3:13) so that we, as undeserving people, could receive the blessing of forgiveness and the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. The blessing of the Lord is supremely fulfilled in Christ, and the giving of the Holy Spirit.
The blessing of the Lord is a powerful reality. God’s blessing is able to transform our lives, bringing peace, strength and guidance by the work of the Spirit of God. The power of God’s blessing can carry us over difficulties, and make a path of provision for us in the wilderness. Even if there are difficulties in our lives, the blessing of the Lord can carry us through with surprising victory.
The blessing of the Lord is supernatural, and can carry us over trouble and unknown dangers. His blessing can carry us through difficult times, and cause all things to work together for our good. There is power in the blessing of the Lord; the Word of God has much to say on the subject. In each chapter we will investigate one of the dimensions of the blessing of the Lord, from the Word of God.
The blessing of the Lord is not given to make all of us wealthy, in a materialistic sense. Setting our hearts on material things is in fact a great hindrance to the blessing of the Lord. God has promised to provide for us; but our hearts must be set on His kingdom and His presence, and not on material things.
The crucial importance of the blessing of the Lord in the Scriptures is seen in the fact that without His blessing we would have nothing. Without God’s blessing we could not receive forgiveness for our sins, since forgiveness is a dimension of the blessing of the Lord (Romans 4:6-9, Psalm 32:1,2). Without God’s blessing it would be impossible to turn away from sin. Why? Because Jesus was sent, "to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways." (Acts 3:26). His blessing empowers us to turn from sin. Without God’s blessing we would not have the Holy Spirit, since the gift of the Holy Spirit is spoken of as the fulfillment of God’s promise of blessing, that would flow out to all the earth (Gal.3:14, Acts 2:17). *
Without God’s blessing we would not have the possibility of eternal life, since the word spoken to God’s people on the judgment day is: "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34, NASB). For God has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore (Psalm 133:3). The reality and transforming power of the supernatural blessing of God is linked to many major truths in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation.
The blessing of the Lord will make all the difference in our walk with the Lord. We must expect and depend on the blessing of the Lord. We must also remove every hindrance to His blessing. As Watchman Nee said, "Today it should be our main concern so to live that God will not have to withdraw His blessing. On the one hand we must learn to rely upon it; on the other hand we must learn to deal with everything that would hinder it." (Twelve Baskets Full, Vol.2, p.52, Church Book Room, Hong Kong, 1966.). It is vitally important that we learn to walk in all of the dimensions of the blessing of the Lord, because God is looking for a yielded, praying people, who will be instruments of His blessing to bring healing to a needy world.
The power of God’s blessing is able to impact nations, and bring revival. The blessing of Christ is intended to turn people’s hearts from sinful ways, and to turn them back to God (Acts 3:26). This is a crucial purpose of the blessing of the Lord upon our lives: to bring spiritual revival and renewal that will turn multitudes of people to God.
As God’s people we have allowed the blessing of the Lord to slip from our hands; the blessing of the Lord has been lost many times, through compromise, strife and sin. It is only in humbling ourselves, prayer, and repentance that the blessing of the Lord can be restored. We must return to God’s ways and to holiness, to see God’s blessing restored to the church and our nation. Holiness safeguards the blessing of the Lord, so that it can grow and have a powerful impact on our nation. Prayer is vital; God is looking for believing people, who will pray in faith until the blessing of the Lord is restored.
The world today is reeling under the curse of sin. The devastation of the curse is everywhere. As God’s people walk in the blessing of the Lord, the power of the curse can be overturned. God’s people carry the blessing of the Lord upon their lives. That power of the blessing is intended to impact our entire world for Christ. One word of caution as you read this book: the blessing of God is powerful, but there is a trap that believers fall into - focusing primarily on God’s blessings instead of focusing on Christ. Remember that for the mature believer, every blessing should only focus us more clearly on Christ, and enable us to glorify Christ more completely. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, in Christ. (Eph.1:3).____________________
* A note to any theologians who happen to be reading this book: Western theologians have tended to compartmentalize truths in the Word of God. Everything must fit in it’s own little box, neatly tied. The blessing of the Lord, however, overflows into many areas of the Word of God, making it impossible to compartmentalize. The nearest I can come to a theological summary is this: Since the giving of the Spirit fulfills the promise of blessing given to Abraham for the Gentiles as they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and respond to Him in faith (Gal.3:1-14, Gen.12:1-3, Gen.22:10-18), all of the varied ministries, gifts, fruit and works of the Holy Spirit are rightly seen as aspects of the blessing of the Lord, and are given for the mighty purpose of glorifying Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bringing more people to faith in Christ and thereby extending the blessing of God to the nations. This summary will be in the background as we investigate various truths concerning God’s blessing. I have sought to keep the language simple and straightforward, to more effectively communicate these truths to others. Much more can be said about the blessing of the Lord than what is written here, but I have made my best efforts to be balanced, and true to the message of the Word of God. M. Erickson