Thoughts to build communion with God, community with the church and help collide with darkness

My desire is to post my thoughts with the hope that God's people can benefit from them and be prepared to work harder and and fight better. Our enjoyment of God is at stake. Father is anything but a boring, no fun, stick in the mud who wants everyone to wear a tie. He is the creator of the universe and he will blow your mind!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What is it to be blessed?

In Joel a most devastating locust plague has been levied on Judah for her sin, and it has been at the hands of Father that the locusts have devoured everything in a sharp rebuke moved out of love for his people and a passion for his reputation. There is a call issued for a solemn assembly to publicly repent of idolatry and injustice and on and on. The people and even the animals are languishing for food, and it is in this context that Joel 2:14 comes. Through chapters 2 and 3 there is the promise of three future days (Pentacost, the Day of the LORD, and the Day of the Messiah).

If read over without thought Joel 2:14 just gets passed and the implications missed.

Read it and see if it lands on you:
"Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?"

Do you see it?

See, when I say "I am so blessed." What I mean is that I have such an abundance or that I have such pleasant things.

The word blessing is barakah, and here is it's definition:
"Bless, Blessing. Pronouncement of the favor of God upon an assembled congregation." The word is also in places translated "pools" "liberal" "present".

So, I do use the word correctly. I noticed my problem is not a misuse of the word. It is an outright abuse of the point of blessing.

Notice how the word is used. The blessing (grace in provision from the LORD in a time in which there is not enough) was considered a blessing NOT because they could then eat, but because they could then offer a sacrifice!

Wow! It is considered blessing if one could offer a sacrifice and go hungry because the created end had been achieved.

The difference is what one views as the ultimate goal in all things. What is their reason for existence? In Joel 2:14 the text presupposes that one's chief end is to make much of God and honor him as their created purpose and that is fulfilling even if one does not eat. After all, they were to bring all their first fruit to the LORD. If they had something to sacrifice, they were living! They were alive! They had met their life's aim!

I presuppose that if I'm abundantly supplied and all things are pleasant I'm blessed, oh, and I do give a little too. Not too much because my comfort level would be threatened, but I give some.

I'm blessed if it's all good first and I throw God a bone at the end of the day. I assume my created end is to be taken care of then worship when I'm happy in my abundance. The text considers me blessed if I'm giving first and foremost back to God as worship because that is my created end regardless of what I have or don't have because my created end is to make much of God not make much of me.

I'm most definitely blessed. I'm given much, a generous abundance. What am I doing with it? How do I view Father's provision? Do I view it as goods to be given back to the source, Father, as worship? Do I view it as stuff to be consumed on my perceptions of comfort?

I believe it's the latter and want it to be the former, so there is repentance needed.

4 comments:

Talley Clower said...

Morning, March 29 Go To Evening Reading

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”
— Hebrews 5:8

We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering”—it is, that he can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; he sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in his steps. Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening : Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

I read the above devotional reading this morning after reading your post. I thought the two dovetailed nicely in that I want to ride into Heaven on a tide of blessing that overflows towards my comfort and not His glory. Well said, Mitch; I couldn't agree with you more.

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