|Series Theme: Meditations in Lessons from Israel|
Meditation No. 7
Meditation Title: Purposeful Blessing
Ex 3:8,17,21,22 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land…. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land…. 21 "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.
This is God laying out His blessing for the Israelites. A blessing is simply a decree for good from God, and these verses are certainly that. The more I watch lives, the more I marvel (in a negative way) at how the old sinful nature still seems to be allowed in so many Christian to dominate their thinking so that they have negative thoughts about God and seem unable to realise the wonder of His love. Even when we read that He is for us (Rom 8:31) we cannot take that in. So, if need be, before you read any further, stop and pray and ask the Lord to open the eyes of your understanding, so that you can see something more of His love and His good intentions for His people.
There are three facets to this blessing in these verses today. The first blessing is deliverance FROM or OUT OF. In verses 8 and 17 we see Him twice saying that He has come to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians. Some people act like they would like to stay well and truly in the world and for God to bless them while they continue to live under the oppression of the enemy. It doesn't work like that. If you are a slave to someone else, you don't want to be blessed while you are a slave; you want to be set from being a slave. Before you became a Christian your thinking and actions were dominated by Satan. That's why Paul referred to it as being in the “dominion of darkness” ( Col 1:13 ) and John wrote that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 Jn 5:19). No, salvation means that we are delivered OUT of his hands or FROM his hands. He no longer holds sway over our lives. We have been delivered. We are now free.
The second blessing is deliverance TO or INTO. In those two verses we see Him twice saying that He has come, not merely to deliver Israel out of Egypt , but to deliver them into the land of His choosing, the land of His blessing. He describes it as a “good and spacious land.” That is our inheritance. God doesn't simply set us free from the darkness of the old life but He delivers us INTO a new life that has a whole set of different characteristics that are good and which give us a great sense of freedom.
The third blessing is the blessing of provision and it is provision from the world, from the Egyptians. How will that come about? “I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people.” The way that God will deal with this people will mean that the Egyptians will be glad for them to go and will bless them to ensure they go! The result? “When you leave you will not go empty-handed.” No, provision for the future will come from the past. This is going to be open and obvious: “Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.” That is how it is going to work.
Now the previous two blessings have parallels in modern life and in our salvation today, so does this latter one? I would simply suggest that God uses the provision of the world to bless His children, and He takes the provisions of the world and blesses them so that His children flourish. This may apply to education or it may apply to employment or to finances generally. Yes, we may be educated alongside the world, but as we allow the Lord to lead us so He will bless us in our learning. He is always there to help if we will only turn to Him and rely upon Him. When it comes to work we either work for an employer in the world (and unbeliever), or for a Christian (who is blessed by God) or we run our own business which God will bless as we allow Him to. Whichever it is, as we submit to the Lord, we will know His blessing coming from the world!
That is the condition for blessing of course, that we obey the Lord (His word) and allow Him to lead us (by His Spirit). When we give ourselves over to Him then He will bless us with the things of the world. Poverty is not a blessing and God's desire is to bless His children (and anyone can become one of His children, remember, simply by believing in Jesus) in all aspects of their lives so that they can be a blessing to others. Our potential affluence and blessing is not merely for our good, but for the good of the kingdom of God and for others.
I know of a lady who was in poverty – or to be more precise she was in serious debt so the little she had was owed. Then she came to the Lord and then she decided to no longer take ‘short cuts' (illegal practices with money) but instead would seek to be strictly righteous in all her dealings. Slowly and gradually her circumstances are changing and I am just watching to see how God is going to honour her commitment to Him – for He will! He has delivered her out of the ways of darkness into the kingdom of light and now here He is blessing her. It is a story repeated again and again as people come to God, put their lives right with Him, and then His blessing flows. How wonderful!