Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Original Blesser

Leslie Basham: When someone sneezes, you say, "God bless you!" Do you realize what a profound statement that is?

It's Monday, December 15; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

God bless you! Some of us throw that phrase around so easily without really thinking about what it means. Today we'll consider what God's blessing really means in our lives. Here's Nancy, beginning a new series called "Jesus, Our Source of Blessing."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: One of the important things to do as you read the Scripture is to look for what I call mega-themes--themes that run all the way through the Scripture.

And this, by the way, makes the Word a whole lot more exciting, makes it come alive! When you see threads of God's redemptive plan, His purposes and you realize that the Bible is a story--from Genesis to Revelation--and one of the mega-themes of Scripture that has been really encouraging to me recently is the concept of blessing and cursing and I'm discovering that this is one of the most powerful concepts in the Word of God and in the whole universe.

And over these next several days we want to talk about this theme. We want to trace it through the Scripture, this motif of blessing and cursing.

And I really believe as we look down on the Scripture and on this theme, that what we're going to discover will be life-changing in different ways. One it is life-changing in terms of our eternal destiny, to understand the story of blessing and cursing. But also, it's a theme that I think can radically alter our relationships while we live here on earth, not just in the afterlife, but here on earth.

Now the concept of blessing is introduced on the very first page of the Scripture--Genesis, chapter 1. And, you remember how God created the heavens and the earth, each successive day act of creation.

Then we have the very first words that God spoke directly to His creation. In verse 22 of Genesis, chapter 1, the Scripture says, "And God blessed them," this is not humans yet, this is just the earth that he created, "And God blessed them, and He said, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.'"

"God blessed them, saying"¦" Now that gives us a very initial insight into this whole concept of blessing. It involves speaking.

And God was the first one to bless. He blessed His creation. And He spoke to His creation. And then we have in verse 28, of Genesis 1, the very first words that God spoke to the man and to the woman.

Verse 28 tells us, "And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish, over the birds, and over every living thing."

Now, what do we mean when we talk about "blessing."

I looked up some different dictionary definitions, and here are some of the concepts that they attached to "blessing." To bless means "to pronounce a wish of happiness, to make happy or successful." It means "to prosper." It's "a declaration of divine favor."

And that's important because we're going to see that ultimately all blessing comes from God. It's an "invocation, imploring divine favor on someone or something, a benediction." That word just means "a blessing."

It means "to express a prayer or a wish for someone's happiness." And there's a lot of joy attached to this word. One dictionary says, it means to "make happy or joyous." You just "catch the spirit of delight" that comes with blessing, to "confer prosperity or happiness upon someone or something."

And we see that God's blessing on His creation is a picture of His favor. God was smiling on His creation. He was happy. He was wanting them to be happy. God is a God who gives pleasure and blessing and joy to His creation.

It's a picture of abundance, of fruitfulness. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply." And I see in this very opening page of God's story, the Word of God, that God created us to be blessed.

And, as the result of the way God created us, our hearts long to be blessed. That is a God-created longing, it's an emptiness for something that God wants to fill, that God made us to have filled. God wants to bless us. He intends to bless us. He did bless us from the very beginning of creation. And as a result, we have a longing for God's blessing.

Everyone wants to be blessed. The problem is that we tend to look outward or inward for blessing rather than upward. We tend to look to the wrong sources for blessing, to look to people, to things, to circumstances or even to our own sense of wellbeing to bring us blessing.

But ultimately we see in God's Word that all blessing comes from God. He's the Giver of all blessing, the source of all blessing. He's the original "Blesser" with a "Capital B."

And so we realize that the whole creation depends upon God for its existence, for its function, to be enriched, to be full, we're dependent on Him for everything that we need.

And so that's why God's Word says in James, chapter 1 [:17], "Every good and perfect gift is from above." So, if we want to be blessed, where should we look for blessing? To the Giver. And so James says, "If you need wisdom," that's a blessing, what do you do?--ask God." Ask the Blesser.

You know, if you and I seek blessing, anywhere other than from the Blesser or if we settle for anything less than God's blessing, we're setting ourselves up to be disappointed and to live impoverished lives.

So, whose blessing are you living for? Do you live for the blessing of your husband? Your children? Your parents? Your in-laws? Whose blessing are you living for? God's or that that comes from someone else.

Now, God's blessing, as we'll see in this series, is based on a covenant relationship. It's given to those who are faithful to a covenant that God has established; those who are obedient to God's covenant are blessed.

And we're going to see that as a thread that runs through the Scripture. Psalm 5 tells us, "For you bless the righteous, O Lord, You cover him with favor as with a shield."

Who does God bless? Those who are faithful to His covenant; those who are in a covenant relationship with Him.

Deuteronomy 28 [:2] tells us "All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you." I love that picture--blessings--just chasing after you, overtaking you, overrunning you.

And all these blessings that God lists in that twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy will come upon you, will overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord Your God. It's a covenant relationship. And to those who are faithful to that covenant relationship, God gives His blessing.

Now, when I make that point, it sounds as if we have to do something to earn God's blessing, we have to work for it, we have to perform to get it.

So, let me make a balancing statement that's also part of this mega-theme of blessing that runs through the Scripture, and that's this--that God's blessing is always given and received on the basis of grace.

Now, at first hearing that could sound contradictory to what I just said, that God's blessing is given to those who are obedient and faithful to His covenant. Lord, you bless the righteous. But now I "gotta" be righteous.

Well, here's the good news. The blessing of God is always given on the basis of grace. And it's always received on the basis of grace.

That means there is nothing that we can do to earn it or to deserve it. You say, "But, you just told me that I have to obey God in order to get God's blessing." How do we obey God? By grace. "It's God who is at work within you" (Philippians, chapter 2 [:13]) "both to will and to do of His good pleasure."

You see, apart from God's grace, I don't want to obey God. And even if I did want to, apart from God's grace, I can't obey God. So it's God's grace that gives me the "want to," the heart to be faithful to God's covenant, and it's God's grace working in me today, moment by moment, that is enabling me to do what God wants me to do and to be faithful to that covenant.

Now, in the Old Testament, and we're going to expand on this in the next several days, the theme is, "If you obey, you will be blessed." That theme changes just a little bit when we come to the New Covenant.

And the theme now becomes, "Since you have been blessed, you will want to obey," and you will be able to obey because God's grace will give you the heart and the desire and the power to be faithful to His covenant.

So we see in the very opening pages of Scripture that God intended for us to be blessed. God desires for us to be blessed. And I want to suggest this: God never intended or desired that we should be anything other than blessed.

The Scripture says in Proverbs, chapter 10 [:22], "The blessing of the Lord makes rich." And I don't think it's just talking about financial prosperity. The blessing of the Lord is what enriches our lives, that's what makes us full and fruitful and complete and joyful--and that verse goes on to say, "He adds no sorrow with it."

So then, the question is: Why do we have so much sorrow? Well, that's what we're going to talk about tomorrow. "The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it."

Leslie Basham: We've been hearing from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Maybe you've thought of the phrase, "God bless you" as a worn-out cliché. And Nancy's teaching today has helped you recognize how important God's blessing really is.

Would you consider writing to us and telling us what you've learned? I'll give you the address in just a minute. But first, here is Nancy to explain how much it encourages us to hear from you.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I received a report recently indicating that approximately 1,000,000 people are hearing at least a portion of Revive Our Hearts each week somewhere around the country.

That was so encouraging as I think of the incredible privilege God has given us of ministering His truth into the hearts and lives of hundreds of thousands of people each day.

And then, what a blessing to receive letters and calls and e-mails sharing how their lives are being transformed by the message that they're receiving through Revive Our Hearts.

You know, this is a listener-supported ministry. And humanly speaking, none of this would be possible if it weren't for the fact that people are praying and are giving to help support this ministry.

So, as we come to the final weeks of 2003, I just want to remind you that every dollar that you give to Revive Our Hearts between now and the thirty-first of this month will be matched--it will be doubled--one dollar for every dollar that you give, up to $250,000.

We're so thrilled for the tremendous response we've seen already, for those who have already given, and excited about how God is going to challenge others to give between now and the end of the month.

And remember that your gift makes it possible for us to continue reaching into the hearts and homes of those hundreds of thousands of people who are listening to Revive Our Hearts each day.

Leslie Basham: Thanks, Nancy. To qualify for the matching challenge, get your letter postmarked by December 31. You can mail it to Revive Our Hearts. Or donate on-line at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also call toll-free 1‑800‑569‑5959.

Now, think about this: The same God who blessed creation also cursed it. But He cursed it in hope. We'll find out more tomorrow. I hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministry.

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