“From this day on I will bless you.” (Haggai 2:19)
The year 2018 is the Year of God’s Blessings. God wants to bless His people and it is His desire to see that we stay blessed. God blesses all men with physical and material blessings, irrespective of whether he is a sinner or a saint. However, spiritual blessings are reserved only for His children. While physical blessings are temporal, spiritual blessings are eternal.
The Bible starts with a blessing and ends with a blessing. When God created Adam, He blessed him saying “Be fruitful and multiply.”, but his disobedience brought a curse. Consequently, he was banned from the Garden of Eden and from the tree of life. If the disobedience of Adam brought curse, the obedience of Jesus Christ brings blessings. The Bible ends with the promise to give us access to the tree of life. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life. (Rev.22:14) Removal of the curse is real blessing.
When God called Abraham, He pronounced blessings upon him. God promised to give Abraham a land and a son. All of God’s promised blessings to Abraham were physical and material and God kept His promise. But, in the Promised Land along with the promised son, Abraham lived like a stranger looking forward to a better city and for better blessings. (Heb. 11:13-16) Abraham understood that the blessings God promised him were not just temporal and material, but eternal and spiritual, and he looked forward to this reality. It is only in eternity all the promised blessings will become a reality.
Sometimes we misunderstand blessings as God keeping us happy and providing us with all our physical needs. Blessedness is not just feeling happy and good. That is what the world counts as blessedness. But Jesus turned this belief upside down when he proclaimed ‘blessed are those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who are merciful, those who are pure in heart, those who are peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness and those who are falsely accused and insulted.’ (Matt.5:3-11) It is true that our heavenly Father knows all our needs and He provides. At the same time, He also allows His children to go through sufferings. God has a purpose in our suffering; it is His way for our sanctification. The scripture teaches us that some suffered for their faith and some escaped suffering in their faith. But they have yet not received what was promised. (Heb. 11:39-40) These trials are channels for our blessings.
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus reveals this shocking truth. The rich man had everything in the world and he enjoyed his life on the earth. He was considered blessed, but ended up his eternity in hell. However, poor Lazarus who lived a miserable life on the earth spent his eternity enjoying the blessings of God.
God wants to bless His children both physically and spiritually. But, God blesses us not just to keep us happy, but so that we will be a blessing to others. When God blessed Abraham, He said ‘I will bless you; and you will be a blessing.’ (Gen.12:2) The more we are blessed, God expects more from us. God wants us to attend to the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs of others with the blessings. When we take care of others, God will take the responsibility to attend to our problems.
God promised that all the nations be blessed through Abraham. We can also be partakers of Abraham’s blessings, because we have become his descendants through Christ. Also we can be partakers of all the blessings God promised through Moses under the Law; but none of the curses, because Christ has kept the Law and redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Gal 3:13-14) God blessed Adam and Abraham not because they deserved. Neither do we deserve to be blessed. It is God’s grace. God, in His grace, has promised to remove the curse one day. He promised ‘the seed of the woman will one day crush the head of Satan’. Satan was responsible for bringing the curse. And in the fullness of time, God sent His Son, born as the seed of a woman to crush Satan’s head. By becoming a curse by dying on the tree, Jesus removed the curse and brought forgiveness. This is the greatest blessing and it can be received only in Christ.
“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven and his sins are covered. Blessed is the man, whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” (Rom. 4:7-8) God not only forgave our sins, but He says, “I will remember your sins no more.” The external and physical blessings promised in the Old Testament have become internal and spiritual in the New Testament.
God promised Abraham “Through your offspring, all the nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Gen.22:18) Abraham obeyed God and he became a channel for God’s blessing and Jesus Christ, by his obedience became the source of the ultimate blessing. If disobedience of Adam brought the curse, removal of curse comes through obedience of Jesus. Those who trust in Him are blessed; but those who do not trust in Him are under God’s curse.
We learn a lesson from Israel’s history. When the Jews tried to rebuild the temple of the Lord after returning from Babylon, they had to face great resistance. So, they felt perhaps it was not God’s timing and they gave up the work. When they stopped the work of the temple, they lost the Lord’s favour. No sooner they resumed the work of the temple, than God restored their blessings. God wants us to give priority to His kingdom and trust in Him to receive His blessings.
God says “From this day on I will bless you.” He has determined to bless you – not only you, but your children and future generations too. But it depends on your response to God’s plan for you. God wants you to be a blessing to others in this New Year. Obey God and trust in Him. That is the key to God’s blessings.
Wishing you a Blessed New Year!
Yours in Christ Jesus!!
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