The old man was nearly blind as he reached out to touch the face and hands of his son. "It is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." The aged hands felt the hairy forearms, not realizing that they were wrapped with the skin of a goat to simulate those of his twin brother.
The scene was one of intrigue and deception and Jacob plotted to steal that which his father had allotted to his brother Esau. What was at stake? A plot of ground? A large sum of money? Power? Prestige? No, it was all for a BLESSING.
We don’t normally put so much stock in a blessing. But perhaps we should. Especially when we note how Paul opens his epistle to the Ephesians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6).
When we speak of a blessing, we don’t usually talk about blessing God. It is much more common to speak about having been blessed by God. We usually think of the greater blessing the lesser - the Lord blessing us. But Paul begins this section by pronouncing a blessing upon both God the Father and upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word "bless" is one of the most used religious words among English-speaking Christian people. We use the word constantly in conversation and song:
"Count Your Blessings"
"Bless my soul"
"Showers of Blessing"
"The Lord bless you"
The word is used so much, in fact, that it is often just a buzzword, a cliché. For example, when you say, "The Lord bless you" to someone, are you saying it as kind of Christian "goodbye"; are you using it as a sort of prayer that the Lord will do good things for the person? Just what is it that you are expecting, or hoping that the Lord will do?
Or, when you "count your blessings," what are you counting? If you were to list your blessings, would you list all the good things that you might have today, like good health, enough money, happy family life, a job?
But what about the unpleasant things in your life? Are they blessings? Do you think of trials and tribulations, testing, as blessings? If the Lord allows testing of your faith, is that a blessing?
The word "bless" in translated from the Greek term eulogetos. It is a compound word, made up from joining two words together.
(1) Eu is the word "good."
(2) Lego is the verb, "to speak."
The resulting compound means "to speak good toward someone." And that is what Paul is going to do in this chapter. He is going to "speak good" of the Lord. He is going to praise the Lord and exalt His goodness and His power and His grace.
This is important. We tend to be too self-centered in our holding of the Christian faith. "What’s in it for me?" Our prayers so often reflect this. We pray as though we were ordering fast food: "I’ll have a special prayer request, an order of forgiveness and a couple of blessings to go."
Don’t get me wrong. There IS a place for requests and supplication. But it is noteworthy that Paul starts by blessing God. And it is in this blessing that we will find a MOTIVATION TO SERVE.
Why do you serve the Lord? Why do you seek to obey His commands. I want to suggest four reasons. They are taken from this passage.
1. WE LIVE FOR HIM BECAUSE HE BLESSED US COMPLETELY.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
This is not a prayer. Paul is not asking for blessing from God. Neither is it prophetic. He is not saying that there is coming a day when you will be blessed. Instead, he speaks of a present reality.
You have been blessed. It is an accomplished fact (aorist tense). And not only have you been blessed, but you have been blessed abundantly.
I occasionally meet Christians who are seeking some sort of "second blessing." What they do not realize is to what extent they have already been blessed.
When Paula was a little girl, there was a woman who lived down the street from her who lived in a little dilapidated shack. This woman lived like a pauper, collecting cans and sustaining herself on handouts. When she died, people went into her house and, to their amazement, they found it filled from floor to ceiling with bundles of newspapers. And within each page was a crisp twenty dollar bill. She was wealthy, be she was not living in accordance with her wealth.