Blessed are Those Who Can See

Peace and grace to you from the Father and our LORD Jesus Christ, When we think about being “Blessed” today we often think about material items such as cars, houses, and a large bank account. We are prone to think, “the more the merrier” and the more material items we possess, the greater the blessings.

Our Father has been in the business of blessing us from the beginning, ,”So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God “blessed” them..” (Genesis 1:27-28). That is until the great disobedience by our first parents Adam and Eve, who bit the fruit and for their disobedience where cursed. (Genesis 3:17)

After that great and terrible fall, we should note that no matter how many material items Adam and Eve possessed they were unable to reverse the curse. In other words the houses, herds, perhaps grain could not take away the sting of spiritual death.

Although I should point out the differences between the Old and New Testament usages of blessing are striking. To be blessed is to be granted special favor by God with resulting joy and prosperity. In the New Testament, however, the emphasis is more on spiritual rather than on material blessings.

If you are a Christian then you are abundantly blessed because you have Jesus Christ,
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (Galatians 3:13)

Your belief in Christ has given you the abundant life, you are blessed because although you have not seen your LORD, you believe. (John 20:29)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 3-10)

 

Advertisements

Faithlessly Prosperous Vs. Afflicted And Faithful.

What we really love and trust aren’t truly seen until we are tested by loss.

This is essentially the point that Satan made when talking to God about Job. In that odd scene in the first chapter of Job, when Satan presented himself before God, God said to him, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8).

Satan’s response was,

Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face. (Job 1:9–11)

Yeah, God, of course Job “fears” you when his life is full of blessings. But take away the blessings and his trust will turn to cursing.

Note the irony here. In this manipulative moment, Satan inadvertently pointed out the core error of Prosperity theology: prosperity obscures, rather than reveals, how much fallen humans love God. “Blessings” easily turn into curses as sinners subtly (or not so subtly) come to love and trust the blessings more than the Bless-er.

Satan knew this by experience. He was so confident that Job would curse God if the blessings were removed because he had seen it occur thousands and thousands of times in others.

Satan knew that the “take away” more than the “giving” would reveal the truth — what Job really trusted and loved. So did God. So God gave Satan permission to take away Job’s children, wealth, health, and reputation — all that most men place their hope in during life.

And the result?

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:20–21)

Satan was proven wrong about Job.

When You Know You Love Her

But Satan wasn’t wrong about the concealing power of prosperity and the revealing power of loss. Even the world sometimes catches glimpses of this principle, as the band Passenger captures in the song “Let Her Go.”

     Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
     Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
     Only know you love her when you let her go

     Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
     Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
     Only know you love her when you let her go

You “only know you love her when you let her go.” Having concealed love, loss revealed love.

Satan gets no pleasure out of humans enjoying real pleasure. He would prefer to kill, maim, steal, destroy, and deprive, if doing so doesn’t push someone toward faith in God (John 10:10).

But he also knows that a consistently effective tool to weaken, impede, and disease the church is to let her prosper. Prosperity has a greater tendency to conceal idolatry and false faith. So like he tried with Jesus, Satan sometimes will offer us the world (Luke 4:5–7). He would rather us be faithlessly prosperous than afflicted and faithful.

Loss for the Sake of the True Prosperity Gospel

But Jesus wants us to embrace the true prosperity gospel. He wants us to have real “treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21), the gift of “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So when Jesus calls us, he often asks us to leave homes, land, family, and vocations for his sake and the gospel’s (Mark 10:29). It’s why he requires us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses (Matthew 16:24). Because, like Paul described, when for Christ’s sake we are willing to abandon those things that the world considers the only gain worth having, it shows that Christ is truly gain to us (Philippians 3:8).

It is also why, as God disciplines us (Hebrews 12:5–6) and conforms us to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29), he will, like Job, take away earthly things that are precious to us. The affections of our hearts, both sinful and righteous, that were more concealed in the having are more revealed in the losing. The sin that is revealed he seeks to mortify; the righteousness of faith that is revealed he seeks to display for us and for the watching world.

Testing Is More Than Just for Us

Yes, our testing is more than just for us. We must remember that, like Job’s experience, there is often more going on in our experience than meets our eyes. Job didn’t know when the calamities hit that God was putting Satan to shame.

Peter and the disciples wouldn’t have known Satan’s involvement in their temptations during the Passion week had Jesus not told them (Luke 22:31). Likewise, we often aren’t aware of the full cosmic struggle in which we are involved. But these texts and others remind us that the struggle is occurring, and we should be careful jumping to conclusions based on our perceptions alone.

God Takes Away for Our Joy

The crucial thing for us to remember is that all that God does for us as his children is for our good. He is blessed in both the giving and the taking away because both are for the sake of our joy.

Often it is in the taking away that our true love and trust are revealed, which is a great mercy to us and usually for others. And often, in this age, the most valuable, most satisfying, most beneficial, longest lasting gifts we receive and pass along to others end up coming through the experiences of our losses. ( Jon Bloom)

‘NOW MY EYES SEE YOU, LORD!

Job 42:5

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.

You may have heard of God from a friend or colleague. Perhaps you continue to hear of Him in church services on Sundays. Like Job, you say to God, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear.” But God also wants you to be able to say to Him, “But now my eye sees You.”

When Job told the Lord, “My eye sees You,” he was not saying that he saw God physically. He was referring to the moment when he had a personal revelation of God.

Why was it so important for Job to have a personal revelation of God? You see, God wanted Job to know that without a personal revelation of Him, the devil could easily steal from him. But from the moment that Job had a personal revelation of God, things got a lot better for him, with God restoring to him double of everything that he had lost. (Job 42:10–16) ~ Joseph Prince