February 5 I Monday
“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.” —Genesis 12:2-3
God not only delivers His people from something and to something, but for something. The Exodus was God’s way of bringing Israel back to the land He had promised them, but that promise involved much more than a land claim. God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go to a new country where He would make Abraham’s family into a great and blessed nation. The land was Canaan and the people were the Israelites, but what of the blessing?
God’s presence with His people is perhaps the greater blessing than His protection and provision, but this was never meant to be confined to the nation of Israel. The whole point of this geographical shake up was so the Israelites would become a blessing to the world. As Israel interacted with its neighbouring peoples and nations, they too were to experience God’s blessings as they came to worship the God of Israel.
It is when Israel became inward looking, trying to hoard God’s blessings for themselves, that they actually least experienced those blessings. Whenever Israel became more preoccupied with serving and pleasing themselves, God would discipline and chastise them, allowing them to fall under oppression, which ultimately resulted in exile. This only made the Jews become more exclusive. After returning from exile, they separated themselves from the rest of the world, distinguishing themselves from their unclean Gentile neighbours. This is partially why the Jewish leaders had such a difficult time accepting a Messiah who ate with sinners and opened the kingdom of God to Gentiles. The Jews thought God’s blessings were reserved for them alone, but Jesus understood Israel had always been blessed to become a blessing.
Once again, the church’s story mirrors Israel’s story. We are now the inheritors of God’s promise to Abraham, a people of many nations blessed to bless others. The greatest of these blessings is the fullness of Christ in us, but we are not to hoard salvation for ourselves. God does not bless us materially so we can remain comfortable, but so we can share our physical and spiritual blessings with those in need. We are blessed to feed the hungry, provide shelter for the needy and introduce the lost to the forgiveness and spiritual life found in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 states, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” We praise God for blessing us, and rightly so, but the greatest blessing is found in sharing the spiritual and material blessings Christ has given us with a world that so desperately needs Him.
Prayer: Father God, I thank You for blessing me both materially and spiritually. May I never hoard what You have given me, but use it for the benefit and blessing of others. Thank You, Lord.