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When we think about the blessedness that belongs to those who delight in God and his Word, there is an important issue that we need to reflect upon. There are times when things do not seem to work this way. (Psalm 73 and the book of Job deal with this issue in depth.)

Perhaps the greatest problem is our tendency to equate "blessings" with only physical things - health, prosperity, children, etc. But such a view is very shallow, and a half-truth, at best.

Physical blessings do exist, and need not be ignored. Under ideal circumstances (when other factors - described below - do not interfere) those who follow the ways of God will experience better circumstances than those who don't. But there are some things that we need to remember about "blessings," if we want a full perspective on the issue:

[Note: The word "Christian," as used below, refers to those people who delight in God and his Word. They follow Jesus and delight in righteousness. Matthew 6:33. This is the original meaning of that word. It was never intended to include those who merely claim to be "Christian" (with no change in their values and lives), or who are merely religious.]

1. Even non-Christians can experience some types of blessings.

2. Spiritual blessings are available ONLY to those who submit to God.

3. A Christian may fail to experience physical blessings under certain circumstances. But these circumstances are all temporary.

4. In this life, even circumstances that are "less than pleasant," are actually a blessing in disguise for Christians!

5. We often misinterpret what is (and what is not) a blessing.


The Christian:
Psalm 1:1-3 describes a person who avoids strong associations with the wicked and their ways, and who delights in God and his ways. The person whose life is characterized by this delight is blessed. This includes all spiritual blessings. It may also include physical blessings - though at the present time, they may sometimes exist only to a limited extent. (They will exist in full, in the future when Jesus returns.)
The Non-Christian, experiencing genuine blessings:
Some of the blessings that are ours in Christ can "overflow" to those who are unwilling to love and obey God. These blessings are an expression of love, either by God or by his people. (Remember that we ourselves did not deserve blessings. We were once numbered among the wicked. But God was gracious to us - and God has called us to follow his example in being gracious to them.) The non-Christian may also experience blessings because of the "restraining influence" of Christians in the world. Either way, he will give account to God for how he responds to these blessings.
The Non-Christian, experiencing "false blessings"
Some people may appear to have "blessings" which are actually only superficial, and are the result of their sin and exploitation of others. These superficial blessings (not actually real blessings at all) only serve to incur greater judgment against those who experience them.


Dennis Hinks © 1996, 2004