Deuteronomy 1:1-46; Luke 6:1-11; Psalms 67:1-3; Proverbs 17:6
Psalms: “May God be gracious to us and bless us; may he make his face shine upon us Selah so that your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Psalms 67:1-3 CSB)
This psalm begins with an excerpt from the Aaronic Blessing – the blessing that God gave to Aaron the High Priest to proclaim over the nation of Israel. That blessing has, in recent days, been popularized into a song that is sweeping the world. It is so encouraging to hear words of blessing spoken over you – especially when those words of blessing come from the heart of God Himself for His people. In the midst of all the calamity that has occurred this year, those words have served as a reminder that God is for us and not against us… and that His blessing is not just for us, but for a thousand generations after us, if we and our posterity continue to serve the Lord. God desires for His people to be sanctified from the rest of the earth’s population – to be markedly different from the world. This psalm goes on to explain why. God blesses those who fully follow Him so that His ways can be seen in stark contrast to the ways of the world – that the surety of His salvation can be obviously evident among all the nations. What good is it if our lives look just like everyone else’s? The fullness of God’s blessing and favor are on those who have rejected the systems of the world and their own self-rule, and have fully surrendered their lives to God’s word, will, and ways. Those who have fully surrendered to God are His people, and His favor rests upon them. Then they become a sign and a wonder to the rest of the world that continues to slog through life without God’s favor. Why? To exclude those who are not His? No. He does it to make His ways known and to draw people to Himself that all may be His – that all may be saved from this world and brought into His blessing and favor. We, as a world-wide body of believers, love to sing of His promised blessing. The promise that He is for us brings us comfort. But do we fully experience His blessing and favor? Are the words of the song words that we hope to one day experience, or are they words that testify of our present reality? If we take a look at our lives and find that we aren’t fully experiencing the blessing and favor of the Lord, it may be possible that we haven’t fully allowed ourselves and our families to be fully sanctified to the Lord. Are our homes fully integrated into the word, will, and ways of the Lord, or are there areas of compromise? Do we try to live our lives in solidarity with the world’s causes, or do we first live in solidarity with the word of God and the ways of His kingdom? I dare say that if we fully surrender our lives to The King and live fully in His Kingdom, then the Lord will fully bless us with all of the things that the world truly desires but cannot bring to fruition: true peace, love that transcends understanding, joy, contentment, unity, equality among all peoples. Those are the products of God’s blessing and favor, and can only fully be found as we allow God’s Kingdom to be established in us. Those should be fully evident and lived out moment by moment, day by day among God’s people. They can be if we will rid ourselves of mixture and seek first The Kingdom. Then, we as a sanctified people, will become a compelling people that make God’s ways known, His salvation a reality, and lead the world in praise to The God of all gods, the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords. Amen!