Summary: The Mars landing shows a desire for "Shangri-La" can we see that God’s already provided that blessing with His personal stamp on it?


2 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Tell Aaron and his sons, ’This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 " ’ "The LORD bless you and keep you;

25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

27 "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them." Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV)

What great words from the Bible, such hopeful words! It just blesses your heart, does it not? God wanting to bless people… wow! But are we just a bit sceptical if God can really pull this off, I wonder. Can God really do this? If He can pull it off, does He even want to do it? It is insane to bless a world full of violence, drugs, profanity and godlessness… If I were God, I would more likely blast it rather than bless it? And look, is it really true He wants to bless, if so where’s the evidence?

Looking around, the evidence isn’t so clear, it seems. There is just too much devastation, , people worried about the next SARS outbreak, next terrorist attack, next bit of BSE or mad cow disease bad news, so that now you can’t even go to MacDonald’s in peace. OK so we switch diets and eat fish and then… we hear this past week, salmon, farmed salmon that is, we’re told is not a such a blessing, but really quite toxic, a breeding ground for cancer-producing agents. Can’t even eat fish in peace, can we? This winter, flu season hit North America early, peaked way too early, getting some really mutated forms of the flu virus… told to get flu-shots… scary… we see long line-ups for the shots on TV. Last summer, we’re told the West Nile virus is hitting the West, now every summer we can’t even play outdoors in peace!

Many are coming to a conclusion that our world is heading no where fast. Is there really anywhere in the world we can find blessing, instead of impending doom? The African continent is gripped with the AIDS epidemic, millions die of it every year. Do you think that the world is ready for some blessing, some good news, something to feel good about? Perhaps there is some hope… maybe capture of Saddam Hussein will get rid of threats to American soldiers. Nope, that has not happened. The world says a big “What else can we do?”

Maybe …the news about the landing of a 4 feet tall machine that looks like a golf cart bring some hope…

January 9, 2004 article entitled “A Different kind of Rock star” appeared on USATODAY website called the new Mars probe… “The hottest action hero of 2004” … the “star”… “in a feel-good Mars mania blockbuster that is gripping the nation”.

Ray Browne, an author and retired professor of popular culture at Bowling Green University in Ohio, in same article says exploring Mars taps into the constant human need to find a better place. "Plato looked. Everybody looked. The new world was settled by people looking for heaven on earth. So in many ways going to Mars is a kind of going to heaven. We’ve always stretched and looked for the unattainable."

What does that sound like to you? Is he not voicing the hope of millions… “looking for heaven on earth”…is blessing unattainable?

It is really interesting that he observed there could be a dark side to our explorations. "I suspect that the obsession — if that’s what it is — is a kind of subterranean fear that things are going to get too hot down here, so now is the time to look for that Shangri-La. And if we just get up there, a few of us, we’ll escape all the trouble that we’re having down here."

It seems the world keeps looking for that Shangri-La, heaven on earth, or on Mars… and it can keep looking cause I do not think anyone would want to live on an icy cold planet, barren planet, tough enuff to live here in Vancouver through the snow storm last week…no thanks!

This world it seems wants to be blessed, wanting heaven on earth… if not there, perhaps on Mars, or the moon…we try so hard to manufacture it.

Good news… God says His blessings are available 24/7! He is willing to give us what our hearts desire and comes like this…

1. The Three-Fold Blessing of God.

a) Note the 3 fold use of the name of God

3x formula = intensification, emphasis! God’s personal name is at stake! It is behind this blessing, backing it up with his personal authority!

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