Summary: If we desire God’s full blessings, then we learn from scripture how to gain it.
To Be Blessed
* Most, if not all, of us desire, want, and long for the blessings and/or the favor of God. It’s written in our DNA. Marry that desire to God’s desire of WANTING to bless us and it would seem that you have a situation that is automatic. Maybe it is, but perhaps it is not.
* The Bible teaches that for us to receive God’s blessing, we must overcome our tendency toward disobedience. Think about it this way; an employer wants to bless his employees by raising their salaries and promoting them in his business. Few business owners, if any, hire someone with the idea that 20 years later the employee will be making the same money, with the same position, and the business to be exactly the same. The employer wants the business to grow and flourish during those years, partly due to the good work of the employee and wants to reward him.
* God expects us to be a positive part of His Kingdom’s work and thus, He wants to bless us.
* Yet as has been seen throughout history, we can lose the blessings of God through our disobedience. This was the case in Israel, Judah, & here.
* If you read the first three chapters of Jeremiah, you discover “God on the warpath!” Chapter 1 records the call of Jeremiah to be HIS mouthpiece, giving a message of accusation and judgment. In fact, in verse 17 God says, “Get ready, stand up and tell them everything I have commanded you and DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED by them or YOU’LL suffer for it.”
* Chapters 2 & 3 are the accusations, consequences, judgment, wages, and call to repentance of God’s unfaithful people. Please don’t miss these truths; God will judge unfaithful people especially when they are His own. But He always calls them to repent and gives them an opportunity to respond BEFORE He sends His judgment. We sing “Jesus is tenderly calling” but I submit that He is not calling tenderly, He calls expectantly. He expects us to respond or ‘else’ (you do remember the or else?).
* Now we arrive at Chapter 4 where God is crystal clear about His blessing. Let’s read and discern.
* While, in context, these stern words were originally focused on God’s people called the Children of Israel, by extension, they hold deep meaning for God’s people called the Church. Let’s pull out 4 thoughts from here.
1. The Conditions – God wants to bless us, but He does have conditions. For all those ‘deep theologians’ who want to take issue with this, check out the ‘if-then’ propositions God gives to us in His word. If begins as early in scripture as Genesis 4 before Cain killed Abel. Gen 4:6-7 - 6Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? 7If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it." If you do not do what is right, there are consequences.
* If you find ___ people in Sodom, I will spare it, but if not…?
* If you follow my commands, I will send rain.
* If you follow my commands, I will show mercy.
* Literally, there are 100’s of conditions set in scripture. But let’s look here in Jeremiah. In essence God says, “If you return, if you remove, and if you recommit.”
* They had to return because they had chased after other gods. God compared this to committing adultery and going after prostitutes. Never forget, anything which receives more of us than does God has, in effect, become our god and something must be done! What was that?
* They had to remove those other gods from their lives. God is very clear, HE does not share His glory with anything or one. Whatever has replaced god in your life must be removed!
* They had to recommit to Jehovah God and restore the first commandment in their lives. To be blessed by God is to be completely committed to Him. “IF you do, then” what follows;
2. The Confirmation – is the ‘then’ part of the condition. If you do, THEN the nations will be blessed. Let’s tie this to God’s words spoken to King Solomon at the temple dedication, “If my people, called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, & heal their land.” The blessing in any land is a healing. Societal healing is unlikely if God’s people do not do their part. The condition given to Solomon & Jeremiah is basically the same. If my people do their part.