Maybe I am finally getting back into a blogging groove? We shall see.
Being blessed. If we say that we ourselves or another person is blessed, what type of life circumstances are we typically referring to? I’d say we are usually referring to things like good health, caring family, employment, adequate provisions, etc. Right?
This month I’ve been leading an adult Sunday school class on the Psalms, and one week we looked at Psalm 1. In Psalm 1, the blessed person is the man or woman who:
is not walking with the ungodly, but who delights in God’s Law and their spiritual life resembles a flourishing tree bearing fruit by a stream.
The Psalm further emphasizes that there are only 2 paths in life -the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly. We need to be on the path of righteousness.
As I studied this Psalm, it reminded me of a New Testament passage. It has a striking resemblance to the “Sermon on the Mount” given by Jesus in Matthew chapters 5 to 7. The sermon begins with the well-known Beatitudes which highlight the characteristics of those who are blessed. The end of the sermon emphasizes that there are only 2 ways in life: the narrow and the wide gate, good fruit and bad fruit, house on rock and house on sand. Jesus is the narrow gate through which we must enter, and the rock on which we should build our life.
But to get back to being blessed…the Beatitudes describe the blessed person as one who is:
poor in spirit, meek, hungers and thirsts for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemaker, as well as persecuted, insulted, and falsely accused because of Jesus and for righteousness
Hmmm. Considering Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes, I do not think our typical picture of being blessed matches this even remotely! Does it? Do we say things like: Julie is so blessed because she delights in God’s Word and hungers for righteousness? Tom is so blessed because he has been falsely accused and suffered persecution for taking the righteous path in a tough situation?
Do we pray to be blessed in all these ways? Maybe certain ones we do – for example, we may pray for the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our life. We may pray for wisdom to stay on the godly path in our daily decisions. But overall, I think many of us are not praying for blessing as portrayed in these passages. Many of our prayers can revolve primarily around physical and earthly things in life, rather than the spiritual side of life.
I was challenged and convicted, and hope you might be as well.