3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-12
There is a wonderful statement in the book of Proverbs about the blessing of God. It says “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22 NLT) Prosperity and protection are very obvious aspects of God’s blessing, and we see that repeatedly illustrated in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament accounts of the lives of the patriarchs and the kings, and the nation of Israel. Typically when God chose to bless a person or a tribe or a nation in response to their wholehearted seeking of Him and obedience of faith to do what He asked them to do, their lives were made rich in very tangible ways, and any residue of sorrow, threat or regret was swept away.
Another phrase that is frequently used in the Bible for God’s blessing is the “favor of the Lord.” When a person has God’s favor upon their lives it is like being given an inexpressibly beautiful and valuable jewel that one always wants in their possession and will never let out of their sight. It is like having Warren Buffet as your financial advisor, Lloyds of London as your insurance agent and the Secret Service as your security force.
The blessing or favor of God is therefore something to be greatly desired and sought after in our lives. And when we have it we dare not squander it or take it for granted as the strongman Samson did. (Judges 16) God’s blessing is both a gift and a reward. God gives His gifts as it pleases Him and in that sense God’s blessing is His choice and not ours as with His choice of Samson from birth. (1 Corinthians 12:11) But there is also a dimension to His blessing that is conditional based upon our choices and actions conforming to His will and good pleasure. “A faithful man will be richly blessed” we are told and “A good person obtains favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 28:20 & 12:2)
The quintessential teaching in the New Testament regarding the blessing of God was given by Jesus in His sermon on the mount when He taught on what is now known as the beatitudes. With just eight simple conditional promises Jesus reframed what it means to truly be blessed by God. He made it plain that God’s desire more than anything is to bless and that He wants His children to be infused with a blessed mentality. We see that blessing comes not only from right action such as being merciful and peacemaking but also when a person is in a place of need or mourning. But Jesus real emphasis is on the attitude of the heart and He promises to reward godly attitudes such as meekness, purity of heart or a hunger for righteousness. In addition Jesus introduces a myriad of ways in which His blessings are dispensed beyond the traditional provision and protection modalities. We are promised gifts of authority (vs. 3 & 5), consolation (vs. 4), contentment (vs. 6), mercy (vs. 8), revelation (vs. 9), honor (vs. 10) and joy (vs. 12).
It is not uncommon at times for those seeking after God to feel as though they are not living with the blessing or favor of God upon their lives. For one reason or another because of spiritual shortcomings, sin in their lives or suffering a series of unfortunate circumstances, they do not feel “good” or “faithful.” To the contrary they may feel forsaken and more deserving of a curse rather than a blessing.
But here is where the beatitudes can be a game changer in helping a person move from a cursed to a blessed mentality and reality. I dare any sincere seeker after God to read through the eight beatitudes and not find at least one blessing that does not apply to them. Sure you may be falling short on one or more. But, at a minimum, just the fact that you are looking for God’s blessing in your life puts you in the “good” and “faithful” category and “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God” fits you! So claim its blessing today.
You are blessed in more ways than you ever imagined. Rejoice in it and say “I am blessed, the favor of God is upon me!”
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