There are definitely times when I look at others and can see just how much God is blessing their lives. Recently, my daughter called and shared a story of winning the entry fee to a conference she had been dreaming of attending. It is out of town, but the entrance fee was a little bit much for her to handle on their limited budget. What a blessing from God! A short time later, she called to tell me she would be featured to write a monthly guest blog for a very well-known site. Another huge blessing! It was just a short time later when she called to let me know she had just won a back-to-school contest she had entered! The sum total of $160 in merchandise at an online vendor! Can you say, "Awesome!"? I made the mistake of sending a text to proclaim how wonderfully lucky she was! She immediately responded back with a stern "NO" and explained she was "blessed by a tremendous God". Point taken!
Hallelujah! Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God, who cherish and relish his commandments, their children robust on the earth, and the homes of the upright—how blessed! Their houses brim with wealth and a generosity that never runs dry. Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people— God's grace and mercy and justice! The good person is generous and lends lavishly; no shuffling or stumbling around for this one, but a sterling and solid and lasting reputation. Unfazed by rumor and gossip, heart ready, trusting in God, spirit firm, unperturbed, ever blessed, relaxed among enemies, they lavish gifts on the poor—a generosity that goes on, and on, and on. An honored life! A beautiful life! (Psalm 112:1-9 The Message)
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the intensity of God's blessing in our lives! Just like my daughter, we are being blessed daily. It may not be with stuff we see, but every moment of life comes with blessing for the righteous! As I look back over the most recent weeks of my life, I can recount many blessings. Things like the little paper I received from my oldest grandson. He was given a school assignment to write a thank you letter to the person who helped him purchase his school supplies.
I had been out one day, searching for something for myself, when I came across a black lunch box with grey skulls on it. Now, if you know my grandson, you know this is right up his alley! I took a photo, sent it off to my daughter, and got her "blessing" - it met the "criteria" of what she was looking for and would meet the approval of the school's rules. It went in the basket! We found markers, pencils, glue sticks, and all the other stuff on sale just a week before he returned to school. Snatching those up, including the "obligatory Grandma purchase" of a big package of new underwear, and he was set!
I enjoy school supply shopping. I guess it is because I like seeing all the neat stuff for writing, drawing, and creating. It comes out in truckloads at this time of the year, so I enjoy it even more than a trip to my local office supply warehouse! What was a joy to me was made a double-blessing when the letter came! I never expected it - so the joy in receiving what I did not expect made it extra special.
In looking at our passage today, I see several truths about one who has their steps ordered by God. First, they recognize the source of their blessing - it is God himself. The condition of their being blessed is in their hearts being in a place of "relishing" the commandments of God - seeking to serve him well in all they say and do. They are nurtured by his commands and they find them pleasing to their senses. An odd thing to say, huh? Yet, it is so true! When we come to hold dear to his commands, we are nurtured by them. When we are nurtured, we come to a place where their very presence brings pleasure.
We might find some of his commands a little hard to lay hold of and make practical in our lives at times, but consider the results of embracing them! Second, the off-spring of our lives will rise up and call us blessed. Now, I know we don't all have children in the natural sense, but we ALL have others in our lives we mentor in some respect. They are, in a sense, our "off-spring". The modeled forgiveness and obedience in our own lives becomes something others can latch onto in theirs. There is nothing more honoring to God than to have his kids model his grace! In turn, he honors those who honor him.
The last thing I'd like us to gather from our passage is the promise of light in the midst of gathering darkness. Notice particularly - there is no promise of never experiencing gathering darkness! In fact, we might just walk through some pretty dark places in our lives. The promise is for sunrise to break through the darkness - sunrise manifest in God's grace, mercy, and justice. Unpack that a little, why don't you? Darkness is dispelled when God's grace - his unmerited favor - enters into the dark spot. Sometimes darkness comes because we move INTO the storm - other times it is because the storm comes UPON us. Either way, it is dark! Whenever we are the ones to move INTO the storm, we often need God's grace and mercy - because it was our choices which may have placed us there! And...oftentimes, not so wise choices, either.
Why does God couple justice with his grace and mercy? God's mercy and grace are what restore - his justice is the principle by which he defines the boundaries for our lives. In other words, his justice helps us know the things which are "morally right" for our lives (just). His mercy and grace restore us to the place of living right!
So, we live honored lives - both outwardly and inwardly. We live blessed lives. Sometimes the blessings go unnoticed, but if we stop long enough to acknowledge them, they point us to the greatness of the God we serve! Just sayin....