God blesses us every day
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Genesis 12:1-3
Devotional text: Ephesians 1:3
It’s a new day, as we wake up in the morning and God blesses us with life. As we cling to the new life that God has given to us, God continues to bless us throughout our days, and we offer our thanks to him daily.
In David’s Psalm 68:19, he has written to us “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens, the God who is our salvation.” The entire Psalm 68 is written in praise of God’s mercy, compassion and love.
What does it mean to be blessed, to receive blessings from God? The Oxford Dictionary tells us that blessings are “God’s favor and protection.” An online dictionary calls a blessing to be anything that “gives happiness or prevents a misfortune, asking for God’s favor.”
There are many examples of God’s blessings found in the Bible, more than 600 just in the Old Testament. As we take a look at some of God’s blessings, we find right from the beginning God’s blessings in Genesis.
The first blessing found in the Bible is in Genesis 1:22, when God blessed the creatures of the sea and the birds of the air, telling them to “be fruitful and multiply.”
In Genesis 1:28, God blessed Adam and Eve in the same way “be fruitful and multiply.” Along with this blessing, he gave them “dominion over creation,” meaning they were given the authority to take care of the earth and all that is in it.
Farther into Genesis, we come to God’s blessings to Abram, as in Genesis 12:1-3 God called Abram to go to the Promised Land. By doing so, God said he would bless Abram, he would make his name great and, through him, bless all families on earth with happiness and welfare.
Again, God blessed Abram in Genesis 22:16-18 by telling him that Abram had his blessing because he obeyed God.
These are some pretty wonderful blessings from God. They show us that God blesses us out of his love for us. God intended for humankind to populate the earth and to take care of it. Not only that, but God gave his blessings to those who were faithful to God.
We should never let hard times cause us to walk away from the Lord. Instead, we should look to the encouragement we find in scripture. Here are two examples: Jeremiah 17:7, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him;” Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
A well-known scripture from Numbers 6:24-26 is often used as a benediction. Speaking of God’s blessings, we read, “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
This blessing was offered by the priest Aaron to the people of Israel. Today, it is meant for all the people of God. It speaks to us of God’s blessings to us, his graciousness toward us and his peace. God’s peace is no ordinary peace. It is an internal peace of contentment, having our needs fulfilled and a joy for life.
When our life is good and we find happiness all around us, we feel blessed by God. Ephesians 1:3 verifies this: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” And in Matthew 6:33: “Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you all that you need.”
The above scriptures refer to two things: our spiritual lives and our physical lives. The spiritual refers to such mental attitudes as compassion for one another, for the ability to put ourselves in one another’s shoes and show mercy, to forgive and to give, while the physical refers to our physical needs for sustenance and bodily health.
The scripture in Romans 4:7-8 (also found in Psalm 32:1,2) speaks to us with these words: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the person whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
Having chosen to believe in Jesus as our Savior, we receive the blessings of forgiveness from all our sins and transgressions. The scripture in Romans shows us that as believers our sins “will never count against us.”
There is a book titled “Life of the Beloved” written by the Dutch priest and writer Henri J.M. Nouwen (who is now deceased). In this book, he writes to us these words concerning blessings from God: “The blessings that we give to each other are expressions of the blessing that rests on us from all eternity. It is the deepest affirmation of our true self.”
His words remind us that as God blesses us, we in turn have the impulse to bless others. God’s blessings are eternal. When we act on his blessings by showing God’s love for one another, we are acting as the people God has made us to be. We are living a kingdom life.
I end this first section on the blessings of God with words from one of my favorite scriptures, 2 Corinthians 9:8-10: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
“As it is written, ‘He has freely scattered their gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
In these words of encouragement to the believers in Corinth, the Apostle Paul gives us God’s encouragement for today.
Today, we have read about some of God’s blessings. In Part Two next week, we will show how God’s blessings give us a glimpse into his kingdom.