What Does it Mean to Be Blessed?
Have you ever wondered if our idea of “blessed” is different from God’s? I mean, it’s easy to feel “blessed” when everything is going great, but it’s really hard to see the blessings when life is a struggle.
Although many of us feel this way, and many preachers teach a health and wealth gospel, we must be very careful with our theology. God’s presence and blessing did often bring great fortune and peace to His people when they worshiped Him alone. There are Old Testament narratives of His absence due to their rebellion causing drought and suffering. But never base your theology only on the Old Testament nor the New. To understand what it means to be blessed by God we must use the whole counsel of the Word from Genesis to Revelation.
Abraham was Blessed
One of my favorite scriptures in Abraham’s story is God’s promise to bless him and make him a blessing. (See the verse for Tuesday on the BoB below.)
This is how God works. Our blessings are not just for us; they bless others. This has always been God’s intent. God blessed Abraham with Isaac, and yet Abraham never saw the blessing he became to generations. His faith through the many year of waiting proved his righteousness. Abraham fathered a nation, but more than that, his faith became the example of salvation to come, salvation found in trusting Jesus just as Abraham trusted God even when there seemed no hope at all for the promise to be fulfilled.
Blessed According to Jesus
If we only study the OT, it does seem that health and wealth prove blessing, but Jesus does not teach this. He said,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 5: 2
This “blessed” means to be fully satisfied. Honestly, sometimes our “blessings” can get in the way of our need for God; can’t they? So, it’s good to be in need. He also said people who face persecution for their faith are blessed. . . . fully satisfied. Suffering is a blessing in the New Testament.
Even Paul told the church to rejoice in their suffering.
Such wording seems contradictory. It’s as if the Old Testament does not belong with the New, but Jesus explained that He wasn’t negating the OT covenant of blessings and curses. He said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.Matthew 5:17
What Did Jesus mean by “Fulfilling” the Law
I’ve heard it said that “fulfilling” meant “to explain or demonstrate” something. So, Jesus did not end the the Law and wipe out the beautiful story of the Old Testament, He was the rest of the story. . . the continuation of a Holy God’s plan to live with man.
So, what does this have to do with being blessed? Well, let’s put it all together. Let’s live lives that embody the Old Testament glory with the New. As we continue to study the book of Ruth this week and dig through the scriptures on the Bite of Bread reading plan, we will come to understand how we are now blessed to be a blessing as Abraham was. The Holy Spirit is our key. (Here’s an article about my experience with Holy Spirit.)
As you read over the sneak peek of the BoB scriptures and prompts, don’t skip over them! Some of the prompts explain the ancient words, and how they affect the meaning of the verse.
Bite of Bread Reading Plan and Prompts
Monday: Ruth 2: 4
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
Prompt: Boaz arrived from Bethlehem just as Ruth began gleaning behind the harvesters in his field. The miqreh (destiny) continued. God’s timing is always perfect, isn’t it? From this greeting we gather what kind of man Boaz was. How do think people perceive you by your language/greeting?
Tuesday: Genesis 12:2-3
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Prompt: “Bless” in this verse and Ruth 2:4 is the Hebrew word Barak (Baw-rak). This word comes from a root word that means to kneel. I find that interesting. Can you imagine God kneeling down as He blessed Abraham? We have such a kind, humble, loving God. He’s worthy of our bent knees. Our bent knee to God blesses Him. Of course, ours is one of worship. If your knees allow, spend some time on your knees in prayer today blessing God.
Wednesday: Judges 6: 14-16
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Prompt: When Boaz arrived in Bethlehem, he greeted his workers with the words, “The Lord be with you.” This greeting of blessed the recipients because they believed God’s presence made everything good. Hardship proved His absence. If you’re familiar with the Bible, you’ve gotta love Gideon’s story. God called Gideon to save the nation promising His presence.
Now, we live on the other side of the Cross and the Holy Spirit. We can always have God’s presence. How has your life changed with Holy Spirit’s presence? How has His presence blessed you? Is this different from the world’s idea of ‘blessed’? (If you want to know more about Holy Spirit please leave a comment or e-mail me.)
Thursday: Matthew 5: 2
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Prompt: The Greek word Makarioi means to be ‘fully satisfied.’ The kingdom of heaven waits for those who have a needy heart, a heart who needs King Jesus. When we’ve surrendered our control to our King, we can experience contentment and satisfaction. Are you blessed in this way? If you aren’t, what do you think is keeping you from this blessing?
Friday: Matthew 5: 14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Prompt: Who receives glory when we do good things? How will you shine your light today blessing those around you and bringing glory to God?
Join Me Thursday Night to Go Deeper
If this intrigued you, it fed your soul a little, and you’d like to hear more, come on over to my house Thursday night via Facebook LIVE at 7:30 ET! We’ll gather our Bibles, journals, Bite of Bread reading plans or Book of Ruth Key Word Bible study (which many of you are using!), and we’ll get our virtual Bible study on! We spend about thirty minutes together digging deeper and letting God’s Word feed us. Just follow me on FB and show up on my timeline around 7:30. If FB isn’t your thing, you can watch my YouTube channel later. If you search for “Andy Lee Bible” you’ll find me. Subscribe to get a fresh teaching in your e-mail.
Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment about your view of “blessed.” What do you think?
PS. Here’s last week’s teaching on the destiny of a believer.