“But I would not listen to Balaam, so he Blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.” Joshua 24:10
We tend to think that much our life is set in stone; that our family situation and past decisions have made our lives mostly unchangeable. This can lead to frustration, depression and anger. We’re stuck and there’s nothing that can be done about it. God doesn’t see it that way. He has a plan for our lives that doesn’t depend on anything we’ve screwed up or the family challenges we have.
Here He took curses and made them blessings – again and again! And He’ll do that for us. We just need to seek, listen and hope in Him. We face challenges daily. If we trust Him, He’ll guide, deliver and bless us over and over again too!
About Asher he said: “Most Blessed is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil.” Deuteronomy 33:24
Sibling rivalries are as old as Cain and Abel, and their issues ended in death and a curse. Brothers and sisters sometimes fight over inheritances; occasionally they’re settling a score that started in the sand box! Sadly, it’s often easier to like a recent acquaintance than a sibling we’ve known since birth.
In this verse, Moses is blessing Jacob’s twelve sons. Asher wasn’t among the leaders; in fact, here he’s listed twelfth. He’s blessed because that position made him humble. Humility, not arrogance, is what God cherishes most in us and that we treasure in others. And if we’re humble toward our siblings, brotherly (and sisterly) love won’t be just a slogan, it can be real.
He sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Giliad to say to them, “The Lord Bless you for showing kindness to Saul your master by burying him.” 2 Samuel 2:5
Jabesh Giliad is a town with a mixed Biblical history. First, it was destroyed by the Israelites for not sending men into battle. It’s later mentioned when it hung-on and was rescued by King Saul, and here, it’s being praised for burying Saul’s mutilated body. The bottom-line is that they sinned, were later rescued and returned the favor. David’s blessing them.
It’s an example for us. We all sin and pay the penalty – sometimes serious ones. We’re often under attack, and God rescues us again and again. Then we can help rescue others who have been mixed-up by their sins too. And we’ll get blessed just like those in Jabesh Giliad were.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5
We love holidays and vacations. We don’t have to work! God’s Sabbath was a day of rest, but now our weekends can get over scheduled. Having a long weekend or vacation helps accomplish the original intent of rest: revitalization of our bodies and spirits. Being away from routine can clear our heads. Our minds are like many garages, filled with disconnected stuff. Taking time off helps us organize our thoughts and rediscover something valuable about ourselves and clear out some of the junk.
Pilgrimage was the vacation of the earlier centuries. Pilgrims went away to worship God. We should too, at least in our minds. God wants us to rediscover Him while we rest. Let’s thank Him for that. We can all use a break!
The priests and the Levites stood to Bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, His holy dwelling place. 2 Chronicles 30:27
Prayer can be a powerful tool and source of frustration. Christ said that He’ll ask the Father to answer the prayers of His followers. Most people pray only when they need help. Their attitude is, “I hope this works” instead of “Please Father.” But Jesus doesn’t discourage anyone from praying.
Sometimes the answer is Yes, sometimes it’s No and often it’s Wait. Although we wish it were so, God’s not a slot machine who gives us jack-pots. He’s our Father. He knows what we need, when we need it and the best way for us to receive it. Let’s just pray for increased faith and patience, and see what He’ll do in answer to those prayers.
After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he Blessed the people in the name of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 16:2
There’s always a difference in the way we feel at the start of a project and when it’s finished. The start is usually filled with optimism. Sometimes the finish exceeds our expectations, and soemtimes we’re disappointed.
People are the same way. Everybody loves babies. They’ve yet to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause harm. Teenagers are sometimes moody and argumentative. Adults can be disagreeable and unpleasant. Old people are burdensome and occasionally difficult. God’s involved with us start to finish. He wants us to run the race of life well, and not to get lazy and lose our way. Let’s forget the start and focus on running our race well. Remember, He’s waiting for us at the finish line.
The Angel who has delivered me from all harm – may He Bless these boys. Genesis 48:16
For a grandparent to bless a grandchild is a joyful thing. Being a grandparent is a privilege and responsibility. Grandparents spoil their grandchildren and are expected to! They are also in the role of an advisor in a way that parents can’t be.
Here Jacob is thanking God for his grandsons and for having been delivered from all harm. The Bible shows that he was in harms way many times, just as we’ve been. He suffered and cried, just as we have. God delivered him in the sense that He didn’t let Jacob’s stupid and dishonest actions direct the whole course of his life. God had mercy on Him, just like he does on us. Thank Him for that and for grandparents too!
They may curse, but You will Bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but Your servant will rejoice. Psalm 109:28
Shame sounds like stain. It’s a mark on someone’s reputation that labels them as repulsive. Today, many things that used to be shameful are “normal” and accepted; in some cases even honored. Modern curses use labels like bigot, deviant, progressive, conservative, pro-life and pro-choice.
God wants us to ignore everything except Him. He wants us to trust Him to protect, provide and prosper us. He wants us to be cursed for being Christians. But we have to really act like Christians. We have to forgive and trust. Shame only sticks if we’ve done something wrong and not repented. We’ve all acted shamefully, but Jesus has taken the hit for us. All we’re commanded to do now is rejoice!
Joab fell with his face to the ground to pay him honor, and he Blessed the king. 2 Samuel 14:22
Stage fright is very common. Giving a presentation in front of an audience is said to be the most stressful things people can encounter. It can sometimes happen when we meet someone who is famous too – we get the jitters.
Fortunately, Jesus’ death on the cross takes away our fear of meeting God. Without that, we would not be worthy of staying in His presence for even a moment because we were sinners and deserving of his wrath. Now, even though we’re still sinners, Jesus’ acceptance of our punishment for us, let’s us approach our Father in the way Joab did here before King David; with our heads bowed low in honor and respect, not face down in shame and disgrace.
I will make your name great, and you will be a Blessing. Genesis 12:2
What is the definition of “great”? And what’s the difference in good and great or great and excellent? There have been many great people throughout history. Statesmen, business people, artists, inventors, evangelists, civil rights advocates, etc. Unfortunately, if the surface of their backgrounds is scratched, they were all flawed people too.
Here, God is telling Abraham that He would make His name great. Why did Abraham deserve this honor? Because God knew he would be obedient to Him. Are we? Obedience sounds like being a child again. We don’t even like to think about being submissive. Jesus said if we humble ourselves like a child will be great in His kingdom. Do we want to do what it takes to be great there? Maybe?Maybe not?