Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What Kind of People Does God Bless?

When you read Psalm 1, it is very clear that David is revealing to us the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly (v.6). In verse 1 we learn that the way of the righteous is "blessed." Generally speaking God blesses the righteous. Psalm 5:12 says, "For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield" (NIV). Psalm 29:11 says, "The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace" (NIV). No wonder David could write, "Blessed is the man." God blesses those who fear Him. Are you experiencing the blessing of God -- a life that is filled with a deep-seated joy and contentment in God? Are you one who lives for the purpose for which you were created? If so, then you are truly one of the righteous that is blessed.

In Psalm 1:1 it says, "Blessed is the man." The word "Blessed" comes from the Hebrew word 'ashrey. Here, in its plural form, it describes the fullness of the blessings that come to those who love God.  God blesses the righteous (Ps.5:12; 29:11). Today I want us to see that He specifically blesses those who walk with Him. In Genesis 6 after you read that the Lord was sorry He had made man and was ready to destroy him along with all that He created, it says in verse 8, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Why did Noah find favor with God? It says in the next verse that he was "a just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God" (v.9) Noah's favor with God came because of the kind of man he was. He was "just" and "blameless." This is the way of the righteous. But notice also he "walked with God." To be blessed by God we must "walk with God." Genesis 6:8 says that he "found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

Notice a second person that we could refer to as a "blessed man." His name is Abraham. Genesis 12:1-2 says, "Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your kindred and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing." The Lord chooses who He will bless. It is clear in His choosing of Abraham. In this story we read about the choice He made to bless Abraham. What caused God to bless him? Was it because of his life and character? Was it because he "walked with God" like Noah? We do not have any information about Abraham prior to this chapter other than his genealogy (Gen.11:26).

Later in Genesis 15 God brought Abraham "outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.' And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness" (vv.5-6). We are not sure why God chose to bless Abraham. God, in His sovereignty, decided before the foundations of the worlds that Abraham would be a recipient of His blessings. But as you learn about the kind of man Abraham was, he was one who "believed in the LORD." Can your life be described in this way? Do you trust God with every detail of your life? Abraham was tested (see Genesis 22) just like we are but he kept believing in Him.

A third person who also falls into the category of a "blessed man" is Joseph. In the story of Joseph we learn that there were many things against him. He was called names and hated by his brothers who eventually allowed their jealousy to cause them to sell him as a slave in Egypt. Genesis 38:1-5 says, "Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. Notice in the story that "the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph." In spite of all that Joseph experienced the Lord was with him. That was evident by the blessings that surrounded his life and the lives of those he came in contact with.

Are you a reflection of God's blessings? Are others blessed because of you? Joseph's life impacted others and with it brought God's blessing. How about you? Remember "Blessed is the man" (Ps.1:1).

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