Genesis Day 59: The Lord was with me…
“God certainly has blessed that person.”
Ever used that phrase? Many of us say it when we see someone who has all the trappings of success. Perhaps they have a good job, are physically attractive, a happy family—maybe even wealth.
We often make a direct connection between those external signs and a blessing from God.
But is that what we learn from the Bible?
As a pastor, I am ordained in the Anglican tradition, which means (among other things) that I often pray God’s blessing on people, pets, food. It comes with the territory, and it has caused me to think about blessings—specifically God’s blessing—a lot.
What does it mean to have God’s blessing? How does God’s blessing play out in our lives?
I want to align my thinking, my expectations, and my emotions with God’s Word.
All of creation is God’s. He can bless or curse any or all of it. By now, you are far enough into the book of Genesis that you have seen both.
At times God blesses directly. He caused the earth to be fruitful. He put life in the womb of an elderly barren woman. At times God blesses indirectly through other agents. At times, He puts His hand upon an individual.
There is a repeating line in Genesis 39: “The Lord was with Joseph.” In other words, His hand of blessing was upon Joseph.
Yet Joseph’s circumstances included being propositioned by his boss’s wife, suffering false accusation, and finally going to prison.
The sarcastic side of me thinks, “If that is what it means to have the Lord with Joseph, then…well never mind.”
The serious side of my wants to press into the question, “What does it mean that 'The Lord was with Joseph?'"
Let’s look at his situation.
First, Joseph did excel in his circumstances. He was a slave, but one that stood out as a man of quality. He was an inmate, but again, one that stood out as a man of character. Everywhere he went, he worked hard at whatever was asked of him, which meant he got noticed, and was soon entrusted with increased honor and responsibility.
I am struck by his ability to stand tall in these circumstances.
Was Joseph superhuman? No. Joseph is a mere human.
This is not a story of Joseph singularly standing against evil. No, this is a story of God walking with him, in the good and bad of his life.
The Scriptures tells us that it “rains on the good and the evil”—did you get that? All are blessed by the gift of rain, whether or not they deserve it.
Earlier I said I wanted to align my thinking, expectations and emotions with God’s Word. When things go poorly in my life, do my emotions launch a complaint towards God?
I am learning to not confuse blessing with external circumstances. Blessing is about God being with you, and in you.
Let me say that a different way. Blessing is not about what you are getting from God. Blessing is about being set apart by Him and for Him—and He is with you, in the good and the bad.
What does it mean to be blessed today? Is it having everything we want? Or is it being set apart by God, for God, and with God, to do His work in the world? You and I, then, are God’s ambassador’s, presenting Christ Jesus to His World. What a blessing!