This message is Part I of my ten-part series on finances that I’m delivering at Living Hope this quarter, and it begins the third section of our One Thing(s) process. Sermon notes are included below.

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Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who takes great delight in his commandments. Psalm 112:1

We need to understand how precious the blessing is. The Genesis narrative in large part is about the struggle for the blessing. In order for Isaac to receive it from Abraham, Ishmael had to be rejected. In order for Jacob to receive it from Isaac, Esau had to rejected. In order for Joseph to receive it, his brothers had to reject him, and in order for him to give it back to his brothers, he had to forgive them. In order for Moses to get it, an entire generation of Hebrew boys had to die, and in order for Moses to give it to Israel, he had to be willing to lay down his life. In order for the nation Israel to get it, they had to drive out the canaanites. And in order for the nation of Israel to keep it, they had to learn how to obey God’s commands.

The problem is that you don’t even know what the blessing of the Lord is, or how precious it is. We are so confident in the fact that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance that we have begun to take the blessing for granted, and the moment we begin to take the blessing for granted, we lose the ability to recognize when it has been taken away, and we begin to call things blessing that are not worthy of the title.

The blessing of God in the Genesis narrative is generationally elusive; you never know who it is going to rest upon. It skips the older and rests on the younger. It skips the ones who “deserve” it and it rests upon those who would swindle and steal to get it. Already we see in the Genesis narrative a picture of God’s grace that prefigures the gospel in advance . . . and we see that even though the blessing of the Lord is hard to come by, even still it is never earned. Because God chooses what is foolish to shame what is wise . . . what is weak to shame what is strong . . . what is low and despised . . . even the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no flesh may glory in his presence. God’s blessing is always given as the free gift of a benevolent God.

Blessing is the superlative state of the righteous. There is nothing greater God can do for you than bless you.

We have got to stop talking about money and start talking about blessing. Your state does not depend upon the amount of money that you have. Five loaves and two fish fed a multitude of five thousand when Jesus blessed it! A lil oil and a lil flour fed a family through an entire famine when the prophet Elijah arrived, because God blessed it! Fish started spittin out coins for the disciples to pay their taxes with, when Jesus blessed them  . . . The blessing of the Lord is able to take what you’ve got and make it more than it is . . . and the absence of God’s blessing is able to turn great wealth into abject poverty as well.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, says the psalmist. Who takes great delight in his commandments. You can know that you are living in the land of blessing if you are walking in the fear of the Lord and taking delight in his commandments.

The fear of the Lord is the begging of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the opposite of despising wisdom and instruction. This means that the fear of the Lord is a high regard for his instruction. To highly regard the instruction of the Lord, to see it as the uncontested path for the living of your life, this is the fear of the Lord. The opposite of the fear of the Lord is the decision to disregard the instruction of the Lord. The Proverbs calls the man who does this a fool.

Honor the Lord with your substance, says the Proverbs, and with the firstfruits of your increase. So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your vats burst with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10) For the man who fears the Lord and who takes delight in his commands, this is not burdensome. This is a delight!

Back to the Blessing: that’s the theme for this year. Isn’t it time? Get up out of your father’s house . . . out of the place of your comfort. Like Abraham, God is calling you to lose your life in the land of blessing. The land swallows up its inhabitants . . . and that’s a good thing! Isn’t it time to get swallowed up in the blessing of the Lord?

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