Staying in Psalm 37 today, you can see the progression of these verses. David, the writer of this Psalm, has followed the Lord all his life, and by experience can vouch that God is his helper and will never leave or forsake those who believe in Him. In turn, because such mercy and favor has been shown to him, he is then obligated to show the same mercy to others. In Leviticus 25:35, the Lord was very clear about this, “Helping your countrymen if they become poor so they may remain among you.” The Hebrew word for “helping” describes supporting, strengthening, encouraging, and repairing those around us that are lacking to maintain a strong community…but also because we have been graciously blessed first.
Being a Christian does not mean we are immune to difficulties, hardships, or afflictions…that’s because we live in a broken world. And Job realized this…that troubles would come into his life. But Job also saw that he could never take God’s blessings for granted. So today, let’s all take a moment to count our blessings both great and small. If all your family and friends are healthy and safe…thank Him. If you have enough food to eat, a roof over your head, and clothing to wear…thank Him. Jesus did not promise that our life here on earth would be void of suffering, quite the opposite. For He tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” That’s because He’s the God of all comfort Who comforts us in the midst of all our troubles. (II Corinthians 1:4) So today let’s thank Him for the many blessings we’ve received.
This verse can be boiled down to this…if we obey God, we’ll be blessed…but if we disobey Him, we’ll be cursed. Ultimately, it’s our choice how we will live here on earth. Our life’s journey can include a relationship with the Lord or not…it can be full of joy, peace, and blessings, or not. It’s our choice. But if you talk to someone who’s been a Believer for a while, they will tell you that the benefits of having a relationship with Jesus Christ far outweighs anything the world could ever offer them.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows the secrets of my heart,(Psalm 44:21) and the way that I take.(Job 23:10) There isn’t one detail about us that catches God by surprise. For every one of our days here on earth are numbered and known by Him intimately. And as we walk in right standing before Him…even if troubles and hardships come…it tells us here, God will bless the impossible and grant mercy to the hopeless.
Jesus came to not only destroy the barrier…the dividing wall…the chasm between God and us, but He came to abolish in His flesh the Law with all its commandments and regulations. (Ephesians 2: 14-15) So in the eyes of Jesus, there is no partiality, bias, or prejudice. For Believers are all children of God and subject equally to His grace, mercy, and blessings…from the multi-millionaire follower of Jesus in Hollywood to the blue-collar laborer in fellowship with Christ in Detroit, Michigan. We are all blessed in our faith of Jesus.
When God created us, He didn’t build robots. Instead, He gave us a free will to make decisions and act on them…whether wise or foolish. But it’s also our free will that gets us into trouble most times. We bristle at being told what to do, and obeying the rules, in our mind, is optional. Yes, our free will can become problematic! So in this passage, the Lord is quite concise and deliberate in His laying out of our options. We are given the choice…the decision is ours. Will we obey and receive a blessing, or will we rebel and experience a curse?
We see a need…the Holy Spirit nudges us to give, whether that be our money, time, or talents…but we resist, make excuses, or just plain say, “No way!” The very greatest thing we can learn from this Proverb is to not repress a generous impulse. For when we silence that compulsion to be unselfish…we are denying others and ourselves a blessing. We are stopping God from using us to further His Kingdom work…and we are depriving ourselves of His favor. So don’t suppress a generous impulse when it happens…for the Lord is depending on you to fill that specific need.
Everyday we should be celebrating the many blessings from God…for He does things far beyond the bounds of what we think, expect, or can even imagine. Genesis 18:14 goes further to ask, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” But I heard an interesting sermon the other day challenging the idea of just what a blessing was. Do we thank God only for the good things we have, and that happen to us. Or do we praise Him also for all the difficult, uncomfortable, and bad things that come into our lives? How do we know that something meant for bad can’t suddenly be turned around by God for good? For what we see as affliction, can become the way to deeper holiness and sanctification in our life…or what appears to be a difficult situation may turn out to be a godsend in the end. This gives new meaning then to the song “Count your many Blessings”…for we need to praise God for everything that comes into our lives…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
We all have things we’ve done that we’re not proud of. Lapses in our character where we actually thought we could hide willful sins…but God saw everything. And the longer we attempt to cover-up and rationalize sin, the harder it is to admit we’ve crossed the line. David in Psalm 32:5 told the Lord, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and do not cover up my iniquity.” The first part of David’s confession was Relent. We need to yield to God and admit we’ve messed up. The second part was Repent. There needs to be true remorse and shame for our sin. We’re sorry for what we’ve done, not just sorry we got caught. Finally, we need to Remove the sin from our life…by whatever means it takes. By keeping a short account with God, we won’t find ourselves outside His Will and far from His compassion.
If you’ve ever had to pry the fingers of a two-year-old open around a toy they won’t share…you know just how selfish humans are about their possessions. But I Timothy 6:7 tells us, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Everything you have or have ever possessed was a gift from God. But we consider possessions like potato chips…one isn’t enough…we want the entire bag! So where is the balance? The answer is contentment…happiness with what we have or don’t. We can then look at our possessions from God’s perspective and hold on to them not with tight fists but with loose fingers.