The Natural Desire For Blessing
Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
Jesus addressed a very human and natural desire for God’s blessings! It is not wrong to desire the Lord’s blessings! God knows our heart’s desires! He wants us to know that He will bless.
NATURAL INCLINATION TO THINK IN TERMS OF MATERIAL BLESSINGS
The promise of blessings attached to the Abrahamic Covenant included very definite mention of physical blessings. The Lord said,
“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be
blameless. And I will make My covenant between
Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.
As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and
you shall be a father of many nations.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will
make nations of you, and kings shall come from
you. And I will establish My covenant between Me
and you and your descendants after you in their
generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God
to you and your descendants after you. Also I give
to you and your descendants after you the land in
which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan,
as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Genesis 17: 1-2, 4, 6-8
At first glance, it would appear as if God is focusing only on the physical aspects of blessing! However, this is not the case at all. God wanted Abraham very much to focus on “walking before Him blameless”. Abraham was greatly blessed by God indeed and the following text explains why he was so honoured.
“And the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham
what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become
a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the
earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him,
in order that he may command His children and his
household after him, that they keep the way of the
Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord
may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
These were great words of commendation indeed. And these words of praise came from the Lord Himself! But note the focus of these words of praise! God commended Abraham for the way he sought to live his life. Let us highlight some of the things the Lord spoke.
1. Abraham worked at making his household keep the way of the Lord.
2. He was a man of righteousness and justice. He sought to make sure that his household lived by the same principles!
A NEW AND PROFOUND CONCEPT
As we ponder over the pronouncement of the Beatitudes, we realize that Jesus was seeking to teach His Disciples a special approach to the comprehension of this topic. Jesus did not discount the value or the significance of physical blessings, however, lest they misunderstand His role as the Messiah, He had to give to His disciples a new and profound way of understanding the subject of God’s blessings.
The following thoughts must be borne in mind each time we see Jesus propound new thoughts.
1. Old understanding clarified
Old understanding is not without value. However, with the passage of time, old understanding tends to be stagnant and lifeless.
2. Wrong understanding set aside
Sometimes wrong understanding can arise. Worse, wrong understanding can be very resilient to true teaching.
3. New dimensions added
This is the genius of Jesus! He always finds new dimensions to old thoughts. He brings deep significance to old concepts. He also brings a special sense of freshness to everything He touched on.
Many were aware that the Scriptures prophesied the coming of a new era – The Messianic Age. Not everybody was clear about what the Messiah would bring with Him.
1. A new political era
Some believed that when the Messiah came He would once again bring about a special theocratic rule of Israel. Oppressors would be dealt with and a golden political age would come about.
2. A new beginning filled with blessings
While not everybody would be able to agree as to what the Messianic Age would be like, all would agree that the Messiah would bring blessings with Him.
However, few would expect that Jesus would begin His Messianic ministry on earth by focusing on preaching and teaching! With all the power that He demonstrated when He healed so many so effortless, why did He not pour out blessings- especially material ones?