THE BLESSED MAN IS A BLESSING

“And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.”
Genesis 39:3-5

Joseph’s lot in life, at least during this portion of it, would not fit into the definition of what many would call THE BLESSED MAN. His brothers, who initially conspired to slay him, had betrayed him. They eventually decided to sell him to some Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver, who in turn sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Joseph found himself in Egypt, hundreds of miles from home, alone in a foreign country, and forsaken.

But was he really alone? The Word of God says that, “the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man” (Genesis 39:2). God was blessing Joseph even through his times of adversity. This can be such a comforting truth for us. When God allows trials to come, it should not be interpreted as the absence of blessing. Perhaps God is going to bless us in the midst of our storms. God’s Word says that Joseph was prospering in his troubles.

The way we view our circumstances and our demeanor in them, will greatly affect the outcome. God was so mightily blessing Joseph that it became apparent to those who
were around him. Our text says, “his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” This Egyptian master could see the evidence of God’s blessing in Joseph. As Joseph served him, his master “made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.”

It soon became apparent that God was not only blessing Joseph, He was also blessing Joseph’s master. The testimony of God’s Word is powerful, “the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.” This is one of the reasons God so wants to bless us. He wants us to be a blessing to others.

BLESSED IN OBEDIENCE

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God…”
Deuteronomy 11:26-28

What a gracious God our Lord is! Our text tells us He set before Israel “a blessing and a curse.” They would be blessed if they would “obey the commandments of the LORD your God.” This verse reveals not only the care He has for us in that He promises and provides blessing for our journey, but also the conduct He expects of us. He gives His children the responsibility to obey Him. God’s blessings are promised to them that obey His commandments.

He did not make us as machines that are programmed to follow Him without any love or devotion on our part. He wants us to obey Him and He blesses us when we do, but He leaves choices to us. This, in no way, diminishes His power and sovereignty. It is the way He sovereignly designed us, that we would love and serve Him by choice, preferring His will above our own. As God’s beloved children, saved by His marvelous grace, we are to choose the path of obedience and submission to Him.

Everyone wants to enjoy life and experience blessings. However, we face decisions that determine how those blessings might be enjoyed or experienced. Will we choose to obey God and His commandments, and trust that blessings will follow? Or, will we seek to find our own way of being blessed, while disregarding His will? One is a life of faith, love, and obedience. The other is a life of self-will, pride, and self-determination. These choices are ours to make, but if we do not follow the path of obedience, we will not see the Lord’s blessings that otherwise might have been ours.

In another place, God promised Israel that if they would diligently obey His commandments, “All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt
hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 28:2). Blessings come to those who obey. Another place says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). To obey is a choice that we make every day, and it is a choice that leads to God’s blessing.

THE BLESSING OF SINS FORGIVEN

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”
Psalm 32:1, 2

To those who know Christ as Savior and have experienced the new birth, this would have to be considered one of our most appreciated blessings. THE BLESSED MAN has been forgiven of his sins, “the LORD imputeth not iniquity” unto him. That means that God does not count or hold our sins against us. Oh, what a wonder this is!

As remarkable as it may now seem to some of us, the matter of personal transgression is not an important issue to most of our world, and the reason is simple. The world has never been convicted nor enlightened concerning the seriousness or the consequences of rebellion. The average person goes through his day with little regard for his individual sin. If he thinks at all of his sinful acts, it is only in terms of what it might cost him or how it might hinder some human relationship. It is probably not in terms of what it means to God. Lost people do what comes naturally; they sin.

But, when the Spirit of God begins to work in a person’s heart, his feelings about his sin changes. The Holy Spirit’s ministry, in part, is to “reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8). When God showed us that we were sinners, our sin became much more serious to us. We began to realize that our sin was against God, and that it separated us from our Creator and all that He has in store for us. The Word of God showed us that our sin, if not forgiven, would condemn us to an eternity of torment in hell. There was nothing we could do of ourselves to rectify our sin problem. Then we heard the good news that Christ died for our sins. He paid the entire price for our forgiveness by His death on the cross, then He rose from the dead. God offered us eternal life and the forgiveness of sins, if we would repent and place our faith in Jesus Christ, receiving Him as our Savior and Lord. The Bible then declares us justified, forgiven of all our sins.

Our text tells us, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” The only thing that can provide permanent covering and cleansing of our sins is the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. Then we begin to understand the wonder of THE BLESSING OF SINS FORGIVEN.

SEEKING GOD’S BLESSING

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”
I Chronicles 4:10

Is it wrong to seek God’s blessings? Should we feel guilty praying, “God, bless me”? Jabez prayed that God would “bless me indeed.” Should we consider it selfish to ask God to bless us? That might depend on why we are seeking His blessing. Are we seeking His blessings for selfish reasons or honorable reasons? Do we want His blessings for our sake or for His name’s sake?

If our motivation for wanting to be blessed were entirely for our personal gain, comfort, or pleasure, then it would definitely not be the best reason to ask. James teaches us that if you request things “that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3), you are asking amiss, and therefore, those prayers may go unanswered. However, if our prayers for God’s blessings spring from a desire to please Him and from a goal to honor Him, then we have every reason to seek God’s blessing.

We need God’s blessing. We need His power, wisdom, peace, strength, etc. We should not ask for His blessings for carnal ambitions; we need His help for things that relate to His work and His glory. We cannot do what we need to do without Him. We cannot be what He would have us be without the resources He has promised to supply.

It is not only acceptable to seek His blessing, it is commendable. In the Bible, people were given spiritual power because they asked for it. They were given strength and wisdom as a direct answer to their prayers. God supplied financial needs through their faith and prayers. Jabez called on God for His blessing; and the text says, “God granted him that which he requested.” When Jacob wrestled with the angel and refused to let him go until He blessed him, the result was a transformation in Jacob’s life. When Solomon pleaded with God for an understanding heart, God was pleased to bless His servant with what he needed.

In our hearts, our homes, and our churches, we need God’s blessings. Without His blessings, we will never be successful in fulfilling His will.

BLESSED ARE THOSE THAT LISTEN

“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.”
Proverbs 8:32-35

These verses speak clearly of the importance of seeking God for wisdom and diligently searching for truth. Near the middle of the passage, we see the words, “Blessed is the man that heareth me.” There are certain blessings reserved for those who learn to listen to God. There is such a simple, yet precious truth contained in these words and others like them in the Bible. God wants to teach us. He wants to show us His ways. He wants us to learn His wisdom. God does not want us to be without direction, but we must learn to listen. God beckons to the reader to hearken. “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.”

Why would anyone refuse God’s teaching? There are probably many reasons. Sometimes we have our schedules so full that we do not give God the time that is necessary to listen. Other times, our minds are so crowded with the din of other things and we are so distracted that God’s Word is not heard. Then, there are those who do not always want to hear and heed His Word because it is not in agreement with their preferences or opinions.

Nevertheless, there are blessings to be enjoyed by those who listen. We learn from the sacred Scriptures that Solomon’s primary request was for wisdom, and we see the priority he placed on it, which caused God to bless him with many things other than what he asked. This promise tells us that THE BLESSED MAN will be “watching daily” at the gates and doors of wisdom. Diligence and faithfulness are implied in this demand.

The desire to listen for God’s direction is a priority that takes precedence at all seasons. Many are motivated to seek God’s wisdom in times of great distress or trouble, but God wants us to “hearken” to Him at all times. One of the most productive habits one will ever develop is spending time every day reading God’s Word and looking for wisdom. God has spoken to us and will continue to speak to us through His Word. Our Master promises to bless those who sincerely seek Him on a daily basis.

THE BLESSING OF UNITY

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”
Psalm 133:1-3

The last few words of our Scripture announce a great promise, “there the LORD commanded the blessing.” Imagine being in a place where God commands a blessing. Where is this wonderful place that God will unusually bless? According to the Word of God, the blessing will be commanded where brethren “dwell together in unity.” Where there is unity, God will surely bless.

God works in an atmosphere of unity. Is it no wonder that Satan relentlessly seeks to disrupt the unity of God’s people? The devil does not want to see God bless His people and pour out His blessings on His churches. This should cause every true child of God to seek to preserve the peace and promote a spirit of harmony. The psalmist tells us that God is especially concerned that brethren “dwell together in unity.” This is a promise for God’s people and for the Lord’s churches.

When Jesus prayed for His church before going to the cross, He prayed about our unity. As recorded in John 17:21, Jesus prayed “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Our Lord asked His Father that His churches would live and work in unity. Does this mean that we have to always agree with everyone in the church, on every single opinion or issue? Obviously not, but we can disagree without causing strife and division. We can still love one another even if we do not agree perfectly. When we are not in one accord in the church, it hinders the work of God and grieves the Spirit of God.

God Almighty wants to bless us, but He will not bless contention. In writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul admonished them in this way, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). We must work at being unified if we want to see God bless. Where God sees brethren dwelling together in unity, there He will command a special blessing.

BLESSED ARE THEY THAT ENDURE

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
James 1:12

God pronounces a blessing on those who endure tribulations and trials. Facing hardship is as much a part of life as victories and rejoicing are. There are no exemptions from trials in this pilgrimage. We are going to face difficulties and travel through stormy weather in this journey. We cannot decide if we are going to have trials; we can only decide how we will behave in them.

There are things we can be certain of during our times of testing. We can know that God permits them, knowing full well the limits of our endurance. We can also know that with every temptation, there will be a sufficient portion of God’s grace available to enable us to walk through it for His glory. It may seem, at times, that we will not be able to bear up under the pressure of our trials, but we must remember that the God who is our strength will see us through.

This promised blessing is only for the man who suffers, but also for the person who endures suffering with love and grace. God is vitally interested in the manner in which we go through our problems. It is not enough that we simply survive our adversities. Some people who manage to get through their dark valleys are hardened and bitter as a result of the path they have trod. Above all, we should strive to glorify God in these temptations.

Our text places our love for the Savior in the same context as our endurance. Surely, this is no coincidence. Our love for God motivates us to please Him in all things. Our appreciation for all that Jesus endured for our sakes should give us incentive to endure hardship for His sake. Thank God He did not falter on His way to the cross. A crown of life is promised to those who faithfully endure temptations. It is neither the famous nor successful saint who will be rewarded in that great day, but the faithful.

Let us not faint nor murmur in the face of problems, but rather endure patiently. A crown of life awaits us. Trials have a way of seeming to go on forever, but in reality, they are so brief compared to the eternal reward. We should not grow weary in our times of testing and temptation. Eternal blessedness awaits those who glorify God through the trials of life.

BLESSINGS POURED OUT

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Malachi 3:10

There can be no doubt that God wants to bless His own. We are firmly convinced of this. The Bible also makes it clear that He places certain conditions on those who want to see His blessings. Here is a great example of this. God is presenting to His people an opportunity to trust Him and see what He can do for them. He says, “prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.”

God desires to see His people blessed. The verses previous to our text tell us that God’s people were guilty of robbing God and were thus, “cursed with a curse” (Malachi 3:9). Instead of having God’s blessings on their lives, they were experiencing just the opposite; His hand of blessing was removed. Therefore, He challenged His people to correct their behavior and see if He would not demonstrate His power to meet their needs and send abundant blessings.

What conditions did God affix to this great promise? The first one is obedience. They had been guilty of withholding their tithes and offerings from the Lord. In this way, they were robbing God. God cannot bless disobedience. This is one of Satan’s favorite temptations. The devil wants to make us believe that we can get ahead, or even get by, living in disobedience. It may not surface immediately, but in time, it will become apparent that God’s blessings are being withheld. To experience His blessings, we are told to obey.

The other condition is faith. The phrase “prove me now herewith” is an invitation to trust God. God wants to prove Himself. He wants to show Himself strong in the lives of those who will trust Him and obey Him. These two attributes go together. When we obey Him, it is an exercise of our faith. God’s Word is true and it can be trusted.

As we trust and obey, He promises that He will bless accordingly. As a result, His Word testifies that He will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” God’s blessings will be poured out as we trust and obey Him.

THE BLESSED MAN FEARS GOD

“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.”
Psalm 112:1, 2

This is an essential quality for the person who desires to see God’s hand of blessing. He must learn to fear the Lord. “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD.” One cannot expect to see the blessing of the Lord who does not sincerely and consistently fear Him. We have witnessed a sad decline in the fear of God in our lifetime. This absence of fear has made its way into the churches as well. Worship is becoming more and more man-centered instead of God-centered. Casualness and worldliness are welcomed in many places of worship. Unless there is great repentance in our society, we can assume this trend will continue.

There are many who now believe and teach that it is unhealthy for a person to fear God. Somehow, it is considered a thing to be shunned. Of course, the Bible teaches contrary to that. Proverbs 19:23 tells us, “The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied.” The fear of God brings life and satisfaction. Blessing comes to those who fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord helps us to be mindful of God’s presence. Because we fear Him, we will want to please Him. The fear of God helps us depart from evil. The fear of the Lord teaches us that He sees our every deed, knows our thoughts, hears our words, and is aware of our motives. Fearing God keeps us aware that we will give an account to Him one day at the Judgment.

Our text also states that THE BLESSED MAN “delighteth greatly in his commandments.” God is looking for, and promises to bless, those who will take His Word seriously. The commandments of the Scriptures are not man’s commands, but they are “his commandments.” Obedience and the fear of the Lord go hand in hand. We are to hide His commandments in our hearts and teach ourselves to love His Word.

Let’s ask ourselves, “Do I enjoy the Bible? Do I delight greatly in the truths of Scripture? Do I look forward to and make the most out of times of Bible study or the preaching services of the church?” Our attitudes about these things will help to determine the reality of God’s blessing in our lives. God wants to bless as we follow His ways.

BLESSED IS THE NATION

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”
Psalm 33:12

Is it possible that a nation could experience God’s blessing? Of course! God promised to bless the nation of Israel and even bless those nations that were a blessing to Israel. What about other nations? Our text declares that a nation will be blessed when “God is the LORD.” When nations acknowledge and obey God, they will experience God’s blessings.

It is obvious that our country has been unusually blessed by God, and it is apparent that some of those blessings were due to our Christian heritage. Anyone who studies our nation’s history can readily see the influence of Christianity and the Bible in our heritage. The writings of many of our Founding Fathers speak of their faith in God and belief in the Bible. The individual liberties we enjoy were secured in part by the influence of Baptist leaders. Our Declaration of Independence speaks of the inalienable rights that our Creator has endowed upon us. This is one of the founding principles of our republic.

The original Constitutions of the individual states spoke freely of the importance of recognizing God in our governments. Certain states required candidates that were
seeking public office to swear to their belief in the Bible and faith in Jesus Christ as a condition for election. The primary purpose for early education was to teach children to read the Bible. The first great universities were formed with the main objective being to teach and train preachers. Our currency bears the motto, “In God We Trust.” The pledge to our flag includes the words, “One nation under God.”

These facts do not imply that all citizens were saved or that all leaders were Christians. However, there was no question during the earliest days of our nation that God was the Lord in this country. Much has changed since then. Increasingly, we are seeing attempts to remove Christian influence from our society. This is being done in our schools, in public buildings, and in the courtrooms of our land. Our nation’s history is being revised to eliminate or minimize the role of Christianity in our founding documents. If indeed God promoted our nation because of our faith in God, what might we expect when we reject His influence?