Summary: Now, let me draw you towards our text in Genesis this morning by asking if you have considered the high cost of blessings. Does that strike you as a strange thought? Blessings are free, right? No, they are not. Blessings come with a price tag
The High Cost of Owning God’s Blessings
A couple of years ago, a little book became a best-seller. Bruce Wilkinson was truly blessed by the success of The Prayer of Jabez. (click to buy at CBD.com) I hope you have taken the 20 minutes required to read it! The message in the book was sound... and that message? Let me use Dr. Wilkinson’s own words from the opening pages:
"The little book you’re holding is about what happens when ordinary Christians decide to reach for an extraordinary life - which, it turns out, is exactly the kind that God promises.... I want to introduce you to the amazing truths in Jabez’s prayer for blessings and prepare you to expect God’s astounding answers to it...."
We all want to be blessed by God, don’t we? Of course! Who in his right mind wakes up and says,
"Good morning, Lord God. Today I want You to really knock me down. Rain curses into my life. Make me sick, poor, and a victim of sin and evil. Cause my kids to be defeated by sin, too. Send clouds and darkness into my life. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen."
Ridiculous, right? Of course it is. We rightly pray for God’s blessings and care. Jesus, in the model prayer, taught us to pray for God’s blessings of provision and protection. It is right and good to seek to be blessed!
Now, let me draw you towards our text in Genesis this morning by asking if you have considered the high cost of blessings. Does that strike you as a strange thought? Blessings are free, right? No, they are not. Blessings come with a price tag. In fact, one premise of this message today is that one of the reasons many Believers do not enjoy more of God’s blessings is that they are UNWILLING to pay the price required to own them! (PAUSE)
Our text is found in the 12th chapter of Genesis. Yes, many of know it. It is the story of the call of Abraham.
We need to define our terms. What does the word, "bless" mean?
It’s a bit obscure in many of our minds because bless is a word we only hear in church and when we sneeze! Preachers say, "The Lord bless and keep you." We hear it and it has a nice feel but WHAT does it really mean? We sneeze and strangers say, "God bless you." And what does that mean?
To ’bless’ means to bestow favor, to prosper, to give a gift.
So when I say, "The Lord bless you," I am speaking a prayer that He will show favor, prosper you, and grant good gifts of peace, grace, and goodness to you!
Do you know that it is God’s nature to be rich towards His children, that He loves to bless us?
Jesus alludes to this part of God’s nature in the Sermon on the Mount where he teaches us to trust the rich provisions of our Father in Heaven. As Jesus teaches us about prayer, he says, "If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." (Matthew 7:11, NLT) I can identify with statement! One of life’s greatest joys for me is to bless my kids! A little gift, a word of encouragement... seeing the delight in their eyes - well, that’s just the best.
God delights in providing blessings for us. It’s His nature. One of the Devil’s BIG LIES is that God is stingy, mean, and just waiting to curse us with suffering and sadness!
Wilkinson writes that many Christians think once they choose to follow Jesus, believe "God’s blessings just drizzle over life at a pre-determined rate, no matter what they do, no extra effort required. Others," he observes, "slip into a ledger mind set with God. The blessing account has a column for deposits and withdrawals." Mistakenly they fear asking too much lest they should overdraw their blessing account in Heaven!
The truth of Scripture is that God delights in flooding us with blessings which He provides from an abundant store that is not subject to the limitations that we know. BUT, we must live in such a way that we open our lives to experience the blessings of God.
Let’s see what Abraham learned about God’s blessings. READ - GENESIS 12: 1-7
You know, I just love v. 2. In the NLT we read God’s promise, "I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others." (Genesis 12:2, NLT) Wow. Rich, famous, and a person who enriches those who know him - what more could Abraham want?