June 15, 2012

Blessings: Things that Last and the Idol of “New”

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Written by: Joe Christian

The prosperity doctrine has had some interesting results on the Christian community by way of pairing the idea of “blessings” with monetary security. As a society, apart from the Christian ideal, we tend to associate the idea of “safety” with having proper insurance coverage, being able to make our house payment, and having a car with passenger-side airbags. But what is God’s idea of safety? What does He want us to rely on?

Most people today, and if you’re not one of them be thankful, get rather nervous when they don’t have a financial buffer after all the bills are paid. We find solace in savings accounts. We find respite in ROIs. But where is faith in this? It seems to me that faith is most often present and perhaps only truly necessary when resources lack. But even our interpretation of “lack” has been skewed in modern times. Most people I know think they’re lacking if they can’t go out to eat three times a week, or don’t have enough clothes to wear a different outfit for each of the seven days. In this way, our modern society’s idea of deficiency seems highly relative, and in serious need of a realignment of priorities.

Most anyone who’s been to church for more than one Sunday knows of Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, or more specifically, 38 years of wandering and two years of coming out. I wanted to offer some specific verses today in the hopes of putting our spirits back on track as to some of the forms “blessings” can take, apart from what’s been drilled into our heads from many modern pulpits, media sources, and celebrity interviews.

In Deuteronomy 8, Moses speaks to the Israelites and instructs them to remember their time in the wilderness, and specifically explains the purpose of what went on there. Verses two and three tell us the “why”:

And you shall remember all the way which the LORD thy God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or no. And He humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD does man live. (KJV, Deut. 8.2-3)

Here we’re told pretty plainly that “lack” is a way of trying the heart. And in my opinion, it’s a way to rend pride from a bunch of people who have a rather pervasive tendency towards it. Lack in itself will illustrate how God provides for you, when you can not provide for yourself. But his provisions are so much more than this, as verse four illustrates:

Your raiment waxed not old upon you, neither did your foot swell these forty years.” (KJV, Deut. 8.4)

Verse five of chapter 29 of Deuteronomy tells us that, “your shoe is not waxen old upon your foot.

So perhaps we should observe the things that last as blessings, rather than the new things we have. A husband or wife’s undying loyalty, in times of difficulty and ease is something that lasts; a crappy car that seems to keep on running, no matter how many clinks and clanks it tends to make is something that lasts; clothes that we’ve had for years that appear to absolutely rebuke holes and tears are things that last; a family and dear friends who may not have money to give you, but would give you their own worn shirt off of their back, or let you live in their basement is a thing that lasts. These are things many people don’t have.

So the next time you want to complain about that new thing someone else has that you don’t, or that same freakin’ shirt that you’ve worn a million times, that’s faded and formless, instead of grumbling or murmuring against it, thank your loving God for the things that last. These too are His blessings upon you. And they are miraculous in their own right.

In Pursuit of Appreciation,

The Informed Servant

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About the Author

Joe Christian
Joe Christian is a student of God's Word. He has no formal education, but has spent the better part of 20 years studying The Bible by following subject and object, and studying the original languages of the Scriptures. You can too.



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