I will Bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of Blessing. Ezekiel 34:26
In dry climates rain is always a blessing. Rain is so precious that dams and reservoirs are built to catch every drop.
Here, the Israelites were dry; dry for the word of the Lord. They were in Persia because Jerusalem had been sacked and all the people there killed or taken captive. God’s now promising to send His blessing on them. They had served their time and learned their lesson: Worship and obey Him – only. He’s given us two lessons: Love Him and love others. We’re often spiritually dry too. We need to drink the water of eternal life daily by praying, scripture reading and giving. Once we do that, the chance of showers will be 100%.
A faithful person will be richly Blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:20
“Get Rich Quick” books are everywhere. The fastest way to get rich may be to write one! Wanting “more” is natural and pretending not to care about money is a lie. We all do.
Here, Solomon is telling us that ambition can be a trap. The Beatles song, “Can’t Buy Me Love” says it all. Having more can mean having less if it takes us away from our families, friends and faith. Sadly, the more we have, the less we think we need God; that’s why it’s hard to the rich to get into heaven – they lack faith. By being generous, thankful and wise with our wealth, we’ll be seeking His kingdom, which is exactly what Jesus told us to do.
There are those who curse their fathers and do not Bless their mothers. Proverbs 30:11
Parents aren’t created equal. Most are good; some aren’t. We all have parents and many of us are parents. The constant theme of parenting is to help the children become successful adults. Success can mean anything from having their own happy family to staying off drugs and staying out of jail. Parenting is often a thankless task, and teenagers, in particular, sometimes curse their family and despise their parents.
God’s our parent, and we are the thankless children. Yet He loves us just like a parent always loves their child. Like any parent, He may get mad and apply discipline when needed, but only in love and with our greater future in mind. With Him, it’s never the parent who’s the problem, it’s always us kids!
Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and He Blessed you this day.” Exodus 32:29
We all want to be part of a group. It could be a club, ethnic group or political party. Whatever it is, the group makes us feel bigger. And all have rules and expectations.
Here, the Levites were an Israelite tribe. They defended God’s honor after others worshiped the golden calf. They killed the idolaters whether they were strangers or close family. God rewarded them for their loyalty. He’ll do the same for us, but it’s easier now. Jesus said if we don’t deny Him, He won’t deny us. He’ll make sure we share His blessings. We don’t have to kill idolaters anymore. We have to love others. Which seems much harder?
But he said, “Your brother has come deceitfully and took your Blessing.” Genesis 27:35
“Watch your back” and “Got your back” are two opposite things. Watch your back means that you’re close to danger; bad things may be sneaking up. Got your back means someone is looking out for you; someone who’s willing to sacrifice for you. Realistically, watching our back is smart. Someone said, “You aren’t paranoid when they really are out to get you.” And often they really are!
Here, a brother lied his way into receiving his father’s blessing. We mislead others often too. White lies are our way of justifying not telling the truth. God never lies, flatters or falsifies the truth. God’s got our back. He loves us till it hurts, and sometimes it does. He will always be watching our backs – and our fronts too!
Save Your people and Bless Your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalm 28:9
We inherit all kinds of things. Genes determine our hair color and certain medical conditions. Temperaments follow family lines too. Most people hope to inherit money. But we can’t control any of these. The genes are set, temperaments are hard to manage and the money may get spent.
Jesus talks a lot about inheritances. He said that the meek will inherit the earth, and that His followers will inherit eternal life. James says those poor in the eyes of the world but rich in faith will inherit the kingdom of God. Only family members get an inheritance. But getting adopted into God’s family is easy. We just have to do is ask. Our new family name will be Christian. Are we ready for that?
The Lord will Bless you in the land He is giving you. Deuteronomy 28:8
We want God’s blessings on our country. Our enemies today have the ability to wipe us out in minutes. It also seems like we may corrode from within.
Here, God is promising to bless the new country for His people, Israel. He had given it to Abraham’s descendants, but they had been slaves for 430 years and were afraid of what this new land would be like. They had once before rejected it out of fear. Now they are being commanded to possess it, and God is reassuring them He’ll bless their future in it if they remain faithful to Him. They didn’t and were later overthrown. What’s our future? We can’t control our enemies or the culture. We can only obey. Let’s focus our future on that.
Then Balak said to Balaam, ” Neither curse them at all nor Bless them at all!” Numbers 23:25
Nobody likes bad news. We’ll go to great lengths to avoid it. Not returning phone calls or e-mails from upset customers or family members is a cop-out. We hope that by postponing it, it will go away on its own. We can have the same reaction to jury summonses and a big credit card bill.
Here, King Balak hired Balaam the prophet to curse Israelites as they approached his country. He was frightened by their numbers and the rumor that God fought for them. But Balaam had bad news; he could only bless. Despite the bad news we’re going to get, God protects us too. He’s in control of the outcome. He blessed Israel despite their sins, and He’ll bless us despite ours too.
Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the Blessing his father had given him. Genesis 27:41
Holding a grudge feels good. Somebody has wronged, shamed or insulted us. We resolve to get back at them one way or another. If we get the opportunity, we’ll try to hurt them directly. If that’s not possible, then we may start a smear campaign against them, or if it’s a close family member, we can always give them the silent treatment and not acknowledge their existence.
Grudges are expensive emotionally, and can cause permanent harm to us and innocent family bystanders Grudges don’t solve any problems either. Anne Lamott said, “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die.” Jesus died to forgive us. But it won’t kill us to forgive those who’ve hurt us; it might heal us!
In a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women” Luke 1:42
Waiting takes patience, and faith takes it too. We don’t like waiting too long at a drive through restaurant or pharmacy. We want it now, chop- chop! The Jews had waited about two thousand years for the Messiah, but when He came few knew it. That’s how He wanted it.
Here Elizabeth is greetings Mary, Jesus’ mother. She knew that Mary carried the Savior. Neither of them held a news conference or leaked the story. Jesus was born in humility and so were we. We’re not anyone’s savior; we’re sinners. We’re only blessed because He blesses us. Once we acknowledge that and decide to follow Him, we’ll find Him and, like Mary, we’ll be blessed among women – among men.