Tag Archives: blessings

Isaiah 45:14-25

Scripture: from verse 14

“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you…saying: ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.’”

Observation:  There’s a few places where God promises that the wealth of those who do not follow God will be given to those who do.  It’s a bit of an odd promise, because it has to be held so lightly to be safe: we’re warned against the love of money and commanded not to covet what others have.  We’re also reminded again and again to be generous to the poor and not to judge others by what they have.  And yet we’re also promised wealth.

The problem, of course, is that we don’t really believe these promises.  If we did, we wouldn’t worry nearly as much about money.  We may read these promises and acknowledge that they are truth, but when we picture the future, we rarely incorporate these promises.  Our heart trusts the evidence of our eyes and our experience much more than it trusts God’s promises.  We can’t quite really picture them.

But God is in us, and there is no god besides Him.  God is categorically different from what we can see and what we have experienced.  God is the overriding factor in all our calculations.

Application: I wish it were as simple as saying “believe in His promises.”  But it isn’t.  I don’t really believe them either.  So we’ll work on that together.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me faith, even if I haven’t figured out how to access it yet.  I praise you for knowing truth beyond everything I understand.  Please help me believe your promises.  Amen.

Leviticus 6:1-11

Note: it appears the CJB may be using a non-standard verse numbering.  Or, more likely, the traditional Jewish and Christian chapter divisions are different and it follows the Jewish one.  At any rate, I am consistently using the Complete Jewish Bible.

Scripture: from verse 9

It is to be eaten without leaven in a holy place — they are to eat it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting.

Observation: Grain offerings, which are a form of voluntary worship, were not entirely burned up.  A handful was burned, along with all the incense included, and the rest was eaten by the priests as part of God’s provision for them.  But the fact that God gave it to them did not mean they could do with it as they pleased.  They had to be holy when they ate it.

God has given Hero and me a ton of blessings, especially financial blessings.  But we are not free to do whatever we want with them.  We have to use them the way God tells us to.  It’s part of being His child.

Holy means different, other, even alien.  It means not normal, not natural.  God’s gifts aren’t meant to be used in the ways that seem normal and natural to us at first glance.  That means different things in different contexts, but it’s always wise to seek His guidance in how to use things.  So we do.

In reality, it’s probably just as well.  I recently read Happy Money, which explores what spending decisions make people happiest.  What was interesting was how counter-intuitive our happiness is.  People were rarely able to predict what decisions would make them happiest after the money was spent.

So when God tells us to use our blessings in ways that don’t make sense to us – when He pushes us to invest in others, to spend time doing things we wouldn’t have expected, to eat unleavened bread in the holy place – it’s probably because He loves us.  And He loves us too much to miss the opportunity of making us happy.

Application:  Pray before spending, whether spending time or money or energy or whatever else He has given you.  God has a plan, and His plan gives you a future and a hope.  Follow it.

Prayer: Father, thank you for guiding us.  Thank you for blessing us and teaching us to bless others.  Help me to follow you closely and trust you implicitly.  Help me to be other.  Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21

Scripture: from verses 16 and 17

I pray that from the treasures of His glory He will empower you with inner strength by His Spirit, so that the Messiah may live in your hearts through your trusting.

Observation:  So.  The goal of this prayer is for the Messiah to live in our hearts.  Two things are apparently required for that to happen: for us to trust, and for us to have inner strength.  I’m not certain why we need inner strength in order for Messiah to live in us, but I guess it’s because Messiah changes us, and we need the strength to cooperate with those changes and not turn away.  The Holy Spirit gives us the strength we need from the treasures of God’s glory.  Possibly because God is strong, possibly because God made me and has the ability to upgrade me, and possibly because the reward of God’s glory helps us be strong.  Though I’m disinclined to believe that last one, since it assumes we have the strength on our own, and we don’t.

Application: Trust in Him, since apparently there’s not much else we can do.  Use the strength He gives us.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, please empower me so that Yeshua can live in my heart.  Please give me the courage to belong to Him.  Amen.

Ephesians 1:16-19

Scripture: from verses 16 and 17

I keep asking…the Father of Glory to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will have full knowledge of Him.

Observation:  Sha’ul (Paul) prayed for us to understand God.  For us to have “full knowledge” of God.  Kinda like “full throttle,” I suppose – opening up a source of power that can launch us into greater and greater speeds.

It says in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  It also says that we should seek wisdom more than riches.  (Admittedly it also points out that wisdom will lead to riches, so it’s not as if we’re sacrificing much on that account.)  I think this is why – because with divine wisdom and revelation we have full knowledge of God, and with full knowledge of God we can do anything.

Application:  Seek wisdom.  Watch for it and cling to it whenever you do find it.  Learn more about God.

Prayer: Father of Glory, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may have full knowledge of you.  It says right here that this is a good thing to ask for, so I’m asking.  Teach me to know you, and teach me to recognize wisdom when I see it.  I want to know your truth, God, so please reveal it.  Amen.