Summary: The bible talks about God’s promises and blessings and we eat that stuff up. We praise God for all he's given to us and rightly so. But are we focused on the blessings of God more than the blessing that God is? Do we see that God himself is the blessing?
GOD IS THE BLESSING
God is good, right? The bible talks about God’s promises and blessings and we eat that stuff up. We praise God for all he has given to us and rightly so. However, are we focused on the blessings of God more than the blessing that God is? Do we see that God himself is the blessing? Paul said in Phil. 3:8, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” Paul saw the value of having Christ in his life over anything else. We need to see that too.
1) If we focus only on the blessings we will…
• …forget about God when we have them.
Being forgetful is frustrating. As I’m getting older I’m realizing it more and more. At least I’m not as bad as the farmer who had a relative come visit him from the city. While they were out walking around the farmer gave a whistle and his dog herded the cattle into the corral and then latched the gate with her paw. "Wow, that’s some dog. What’s her name?" The forgetful farmer thought a minute, and then asked, "What do you call that red flower that smells good and has thorns on the stem?" "A rose?" "That’s it!" The farmer turned and called out to his wife. "Hey Rose, what’s the dog’s name?" Sometimes being forgetful can be comical but when it comes to our relationship with God it’s not good.
Deut. 8:10-20. God knows the nature and heart of man. He warned the Israelites because he wanted them to understand something that wasn’t obvious to them. Because if I put myself there and I heard these words at this time I would probably think to myself, “that won’t happen to me; I would never do that to God”. Just like Peter telling Jesus, “I would never deny knowing you; I would die for you”. And we know how that turned out.
God doesn’t give us warnings for no reason. God saw the potential for pride to set in. Vs. 14, “then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God”. When we focus more on the blessing than the one who blesses we forget that the reason we’re blessed is because of God. We think we are blessed because of our own strength and ability. That’s why he says in vs. 18, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” I don’t have what I have because of me; I have it because of God.
“Abraham Lincoln said, "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."”
Pride gets in the way of recognizing God as the giver and sustainer of all we have. Persisting in that pride will destroy us. Vs. 19-20. If we remain proud; if we remain focused and fixated on all our blessings and neglect God then he will start to take away the blessings. He will destroy the material abundance; he will strip it away from us to try to get our attention.
We will also start to lose our spiritual blessings. The blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, etc. we had when we were focused on God will dissipate. If what God tries to do to get our attention doesn’t work and we persist in our disobedience we are at risk for being destroyed. This is the danger of focusing on the blessings of God without focusing on the blessing of God himself.
• …walk away from God when we don’t.
Psalm 73:1-5. Asaph reveals he almost fell away from God because he got caught up in how he saw the wicked “blessed” and the righteous suffering.
Then he reveals how he feels his obedience has been in vain (12-14). As if to say, “What good has it done me to live for God? I’m suffering and the ones that don’t care about you are skipping along without a care in the world.”
He tried to understand and figure it out but to no avail (16). That is-until he went to church and then he began to see things more clearly (17-20).