Blessed to Bless

Genesis 12: 3

And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse.

I remember reading this years ago and being amazed by it, and frankly, a little bowled over by it. This speaks about the blessing which is on you as one of God’s children.

Here is the wisdom and understanding from God and it is a two-sided coin. First, as you sow, so also are you going to reap. When you bless God’s people, God blesses you. Second, those who bless you will, likewise be blessed. As for the curse, it doesn’t pay to impede God’s chosen because the blessing will also be hindered. When others come against you, you can honestly feel sorry for them because they have chosen the curse rather than the blessing.

God told Abraham that he would bless all who were a blessing to Abraham. Although this is an Old Testament scripture, you can hear God saying this to His children today. God will take it upon himself to bless the people who bless His kids. This couldn’t be more obvious than when it is applied to our ministers. God has made it His business to bless those who care for the needs of His called servants. The Apostle Paul made this point in the fourth chapter of Philippians.

This is the revelation the children of Israel had when they committed themselves to caring for the supply of the temple which we saw in last week’s scripture. In their gratitude and admiration for God they undertook to supply His house knowing full well that God would then meet all of their needs. You see, their first thought was no longer on themselves and meeting their own needs. They transcended that. They saw how the kingdom of God works. Therefore, they devoted themselves to constantly sowing into the temple. God had already bound Himself with His words. He was obligated to prosper them. And here is the really good news. God is still bound by His words. He cannot do anything contrary to His words. “Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?Numbers 23: 19. That is to say that what He promised to the Israelites is what He also promised you because He cannot change His words. He said He would bless those who bless His inheritance which is you and me. So, therefore, when you bless God’s kids, He is obligated (and delighted) to bless you. So, learn to be a blessing so that He can pour out His desire upon you.

And just a word on the last part of the scripture. Mind what you say about God’s elect. A curse is not only people sitting in a circle putting a curse on someone else. It is also more than profane language. When you talk bad about the child and/or servant of God, you are treading on very Holy ground to God and that seed will bear a crop just like your good seed does. Do not let your words bind you to misfortune. Be a blessing and allow God to bless you.

Healthy Blessing

Deuteronomy 28: 2,3, 5, 14 – 17, 61

2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you will obey the Lord your God.
3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
14 And do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to be careful to follow all His commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 Cursed will you be in the city, and cursed will you be in the country.
17 Cursed will be your basket and your kneading bowl.
61 Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the Lord will bring on you until you are destroyed.

Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy is where you find the blessing. It also shows what the curse holds. You would be well served to at least read verses 1 – 14 for yourself so that you understand what the blessing means in your life. I have chosen a few select verses to talk about sickness and health.

We already saw in yesterday’s verse that there were diseases in Egypt but that those are not for us. Today we will see that the blessing protects us from the diseases that are in the curse.

First, there is a condition which must be fulfilled, namely that we listen to the commandments of the Lord and obey them. When we do, our lives are ruled by the blessing. However, if we do not obey the words of the Lord, we subject ourselves to the curse. Obedience means we are blessed in the city and blessed in the country. Disobedience means the curse will impact us in the city and in the country, everywhere, in other words. Following God’s instructions brings blessing to our basket and kneading bowl while obstinance curses our food supply.

It is obvious that when we obey God and follow His guidance, we receive the exact opposite benefit of the impact of the curse. Do you agree? This is important when we get to verse 61 because it tells us the result rebellion has on health. The cost of rebellion is all the sickness and disease of Egypt. Therefore, I conclude the prize of obedience is avoidance of Egypt’s curse.

There is sickness in Egypt (the world) because the world does not listen to the counsel of the Lord. If we act like the world and follow the advice of the world, then we are going to reap the results of the world. We need to inquire of the Lord and listen to His wisdom. Then, importantly, we must do as He says. Sometimes what the Lord tells you to do will not make sense to you. Sometimes it may not even sound like faith. None the less, His wisdom will always lead to good results.

Here is one small example that you can relate to. We know that exercising is good for our health. Let’s suppose you have a goal to exercise every weekday and rest on the weekends. What if you get to Friday and there is a nagging thought about not working out? Perhaps your body feels tired. If you have faith, shouldn’t you be able to press on and meet your goals? Or maybe, that voice is God telling you that your body is ready for a rest day now. If you press on maybe you injure yourself. We need to be able to listen to Father’s daily guidance in our work, diet, exercise and even rest. You know, maybe He wants to make some changes in your schedule for better results. We’ve got to listen to Him and OBEY if we are going to live in the blessing. And, that is the Word of the Day for today – obey. So far that gives us an equation of inquire, listen and obey. Maybe it is, instead, a recipe, a recipe for the blessing.

Here is the point, God is your healer. That is what we shouldn’t lose sight of. He can, and does, heal supernaturally, but He also wants to help you avoid feeling bad in the first place. I am thinking of the 23rd Psalm and the picture it paints of the Great Shepherd’s care. Rest in His love and trust Him. There is the curse in the earth but, praise God, there is the blessing. Our beloved has provided blessing for every element of our lives including health. Let’s follow Him to the green pastures and fresh water of the blessing. Amen?

Egypt and Goshen

Exodus 15:26

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

There is, in this passage, a presumption of sickness. Do you agree? Why do we need a healer if there is not disease in the world? However, God makes a distinction here between the Egyptians (the world) and the Hebrews (believers). He reveals that believers are not subject to the curse.

Think about what was going on here. The Israelites were in slavery to the world, if you will. The Egyptians were their slave masters. God had called Moses out of exile to lead God’s people out of slavery and into the land of promise. The land of Egypt is cursed. God has sent plague, boils, gnats, frogs, locust, turned the river into blood, and rained down hail in such a violent storm that it killed everything which was outside, even trees. The curse is wreaking havoc in Egypt. God was available to remove the curse, even from the Egyptians if they would only obey His word. If Pharoah would only “earnest(ly) heed to the voice of . . . God” Egypt would be spared. However, Pharoah’s heart was hard, and he would not hear the Word of the Lord. His land was devastated as a result.

The curse is still operating in the world, but God would have us understand that the curse is for the Egyptians, not the Hebrews, i.e., for the world, not believers. When Moses lifted his staff in obedience to God, the plague struck Egypt. Meanwhile, over his shoulder, the land of Goshen, the place where the Hebrews lived, was untouched. God made a clear distinction. The thing which is interesting in this is that the land of Egypt didn’t have to suffer all those plagues either. God was willing to save them from their plight anytime they said so. Pharoah begged Moses to remove the frogs from the land. Moses agreed and told Pharoah, “You set the time!” (Exodus 8: 9) meaning that he would pray for the removal of the frogs whenever Pharoah wanted him to. Pharoah could have said, “Do it now!”, but he didn’t. He told Moses to pray tomorrow. What???? You see, Pharoah, like all people, had the right to remain under the curse or to be free of it. Why didn’t he say, “Pray now?” Why does anyone choose to live under the curse? See, even the Egyptians, even Pharoah himself could have chosen for the curse to leave his home. Instead, he opted for another day of frogs.

I know this is long but let me share one more bit from Exodus with you that goes right to the substance of today’s verse. I mentioned the hailstorm. You will find the account of it in chapter 9 of Exodus. What is so amazing about it is that God actually tried to save the Egyptians and their stock. He told them that a hailstorm was coming at “this time tomorrow.” He advised the Egyptians thusly, “Quick! Order your livestock and servants to come in from the fields. Every person or animal left outside will die beneath the hail,” (Exodus 9: 19). Isn’t that amazing? God warned the fools. He didn’t want to kill the Egyptians. He wanted them to listen to Him. They needed only to do as today’s scripture teaches, “Give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments.” Many people could have survived that day and their livestock too.

So, what is the message from today? Well, I believe it is in several parts and we will see them revisited. However, let us record these three points as we begin our journey. First, heed the voice of God. He is forever trying to steer us away from sickness and harm of every kind. I will say this now though we are sure to hear this again. Sometimes healing is in the advice God gives you and sometimes that comes through another person. It may be advice about diet, exercise or emotional well-being. If we ignore it, we get hailed upon and it is no fault of God’s. Second, the curse was never meant for believers. The curse is in the world, but you are supposed to be living in the land of Goshen, not Egypt. My advice, don’t go to Egypt. Don’t live in that space. Lastly, number three, God is our healer. He knows there is dis-ease in the world and that we need a healer. He has volunteered to be that person for us. That is not to say that He won’t use physical therapists and doctors and acupuncturists, etc., but first and foremost, He is our healer. He is the attending physician who coordinates all the other modalities.  We must begin with Him and constantly heed His advice.

This healing journey begins with these words, “Give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep His statutes.” The path of health starts here.

It’s Your Choice

Deuteronomy 30: 19           NOG

I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live.

Are you familiar with this verse? I want you to be. It is so very powerful and can change your life. In fact, this is a great one for you to meditate on. The piece of it I wish to highlight today is the word “choose.”

God has offered us life. He has offered us blessings. Death and the curse entered the earth in the Garden of Eden. So, both life and death and blessing and the curse are out there for the choosing. The interesting aspect is that we get to choose. I always smile when I read this verse because I hear it this way, “I have given you the choice between life and death, the blessing and the curse. Let me give you a hint. Choose life and blessing.” It is like God is trying to clue us in on which one to choose. It seems ridiculous at one level. We should be smart enough that He does not need to give us a hint and yet, it is a forebearer of a truth. We often make the wrong choice. We choose death instead of life and the curse instead of the blessing. Why would we do that?

Let me ask you a different question. Supposing you rather have life and blessing, how do you make that choice? What mechanism is in place for choosing? That is the main issue, I believe. Do folks know how to choose life? In how many ways do we choose the curse instead of the blessing? I believe most Christians do not realize there is a choice, how to make the choice, or how they are making the wrong choice daily.

One of the most poignant events in the Bible is found in the book of Joshua. As the book opens, Moses has just died. He, who was the liberator of Israel, who led them for years through their long sojourn, who importuned God for them, prayed for them, taught them, and cared for them, is dead. Now what? Shall the nation of Israel fall apart right there, having never crossed over into the promised land? It is a climactic moment is Judeo-Christian history. It could have all ended right there, on the wrong side of the Jordan. Instead, God appointed Joshua to be the leader of His people. How would you like that job, following in Moses’ footsteps? It must have been pretty frightening for Joshua. God took him aside, though, to give him the secret of success, to be his coach and mentor. God told Joshua, “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1: 7 – 9).

I know that was a long quote but you need to see it all. Right here God gave Joshua the choice to fail or succeed. He even gave him the crib notes for the test. In other words, God didn’t make success a mystery. Success or failure lay at Joshua’s feet so God showed him the path to success. He gave him all the secrets. That is what God does.

Here is my point. Father wants us to succeed so He has given us the cheat sheet. “Here are all the answers,” He says. All we have to do is use them. How many points do you find in the quote from the book of Joshua? I counted seven. The real question is, how many of them are we doing. This is how we choose life and blessing. Joshua didn’t have to take God’s advice. We know he did because he enjoyed success and led the nation of Israel into the promised land. He chose blessing. He chose life.

Here are two of the big seven. One, do not fear. If we live in fear, we fertilize death and curse. Second, and this is a really big one, meditate in this Word day and night. When we meditate in the Word, we are actively choosing life and blessing.

This passage from Joshua teaches how to choose to live in the blessing. We need to follow where the Lord is leading. We need to communicate with him so that we see his ways generally and the specific path he points out for us. We can choose to be blessed. We can choose the abundant life Jesus said he came here to give us. I think if you will follow the advice God gave Joshua, if you will learn how to commune with Jesus and actually do it, that you will find yourself in overflow of everything good. Please, choose life, choose the blessing. It’s your choice.

Blessing is a Choice

Deuteronomy 28: 2, 45          NIV

All these blessing will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. 45 All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord you God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11: 28 (NIV).

I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. Deuteronomy 30: 19 (GW).

Lest we be deceived, thinking God has changed His tune since we are living in the New Testament, I included the words of Jesus from the gospel of Luke.  There is blessing in obedience.  No one wants to hear this, I know.  Obedience is not at the top of our favored subjects. We should not mourn, though.  There is plenty of good news here.  Yes, if we do not obey, the curse, which is in the land, will overtake us.  You do know that there is a curse out there, right?  It came with the fall of humanity, but God’s blessing is bigger than the curse.  And, it is elective.  Anyone who chooses to participate in the blessing, rather than the curse, can.  We learn that from Deuteronomy 30: 19.  God allows us to choose.  So, we can choose to be blessed and why wouldn’t we?

Well, because the price is obedience and, honestly, our generation has a problem with being told what to do, even by God.  We are very self-aware and self-guided.  That is the choice we make.  Will we humble ourselves to the direction of the Lord, or will we adhere to our own form of wisdom?  The answer seems obvious, doesn’t it, but if you observe the world around you, I think you will find very few people who are actually submitted to the Lord.

The other question which must be addressed is, “What, or whom, are we to obey?”  Jesus answered that question in Luke.  We must first humble ourselves to hearing and receiving the Word of God.  Then we obey what the Word says.  That’s it.  Listen and obey.  It sounds easy but it requires slaying our egos and that is hard.  Still, I think I would rather have the blessing than build an altar to my already over-inflated ego.  What about you?!


Psalm 35: 26 – 28          NIV

May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

It has taken three days to share with you the insight and emotional outpouring of David which is found in the 35th Psalm. I wanted to give you this psalm because I know that we all have been in David’s shoes emotionally.

One of the key points we can glean from this passage is that David knew his Bible. In this passage he essentially prayed Genesis 12: 3 which reads, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” It is always wise to pray the promises God has already given us. Where there is a passage which relates to our circumstance then we already know God’s will. In this case, all we have to do is line up our prayer with the promise God has already given.

The other point which I think is key is to notice how David ends this Psalm. He was certainly in great distress and poured out his heart to God but when he gets to the end he has reached the point of declaring God’s greatness. That is one of the keys to David’s success and to his great relationship with God. There are other psalms wherein David begins with a recitation of his troubles but always at the end he has laid his problem at the throne of God and taken up his instrument to sing praises to the Most High. This is a very valuable lesson. It is acceptable to lament your woes. It is okay to tell God your troubles and your feelings, but do not end your conversation there. Keep communicating with God until you reach the praise and thanksgiving stage. Keep praying until your trust in His saving grace has returned to you. Remember too, that our New Testament instruction from Jesus is to pray for our tormentors. Their actions will return to them because of the bad seed they have sown. However, we now have the power and authority to even save them from themselves because in Jesus we can pray for their healing and a reversal of their fortunes. It certainly is not the easiest thing in the world to do but we have Jesus, and in him all things are possible, even praying for our enemies.

Redeemed, Restored & Renewed

Galatians 3: 13 – 14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.

This is a message of the cross that we do not hear often and yet it is so profound that we should be shouting it from the housetops. This is a huge statement. While we were yet under the curse, God provided a way, the way, to redeem us from that curse. Jesus Christ, our beloved, went to the cross not to bear the burden of the curse but rather he became a curse so that we could be freed from the curse, from sin and from death. Jesus went to the cross so that we could be redeemed from the curse of the law and thereby be reconciled to God and into the blessing of Abraham.  

This passage encourages further study for it demands an answer to the question, “What is the blessing of Abraham?” It also answers many questions and some very large ones at that. We know, beyond doubt, that we are to live lives of blessing being no longer under the curse. We are heirs of all of the promises God made to Abraham. We know what the Christian life is to look like and it is not one of sickness, disease and poverty. Those are in the curse. It is not a life on anguish and torture. We are delivered from the curse of the law, from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of his dear son.

Additional text: Deuteronomy 28: 1-14