Valley of Blessing
Several months ago I received an email from someone living in a country I’ve never been to. One of their first emails ended with, “May the Lord bless you and keep you.” These eight simple words caused me to pause and reflect on them as more than just pleasant words to my ears. I knew what was written was a genuine prayer and more than well-wishes from a stranger to have a good day.
John Hagee says that we were “born to be blessed.” Who doesn’t want to be blessed?
“‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Numbers 6:24-27
A blessing is favor, mercy, or a benefit. Blessings don’t just come from material possessions, enough food on the table, or a hefty retirement plan, though they can surely include these things.
I think one of the foundations to recognizing our blessings is to appreciate that life is full of goodness regardless what situations we are faced with. Knowing what your blessings are is how you see your situations and how you view God.
The blessings God lavishes on us come in different forms and the greatest of all aren’t those things that are temporary and of earthly value. When we recognize this great truth, we discover an abundance of the benefits of God, but we appreciate that what we are receiving is from the One who “possessor all of heaven and earth.” Genesis 14:19 And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,” Genesis 14:19 ESV
I can barely wrap my mind around the magnitude that God, who possesses all, wants to bless me.
THE BLESSINGS OF ADVERSITY
Can we be blessed during difficult times? Yes!
Don’t equate pain and suffering to an absence of God’s blessings. Let me put this in perspective for you. When we seek to understand how God views us and our situations, we begin to see how flawed our feelings and outlook on life can be. Acknowledging the blessings in our lives isn’t just about our point of view and how we define what is good or bad. It’s knowing that what is good is from God and what is bad is from the devil.
We can easily muddle our thoughts of who God is when we don’t accept the Truth of his Word. If we don’t know the beauty of the person of God, we don’t see the beauty that surrounds us. We embrace our troubles more than we embrace God’s intentions for us, which are always good and pleasing to him.
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat was warned a vast army was approaching. Jehoshaphat went directly to the Lord for help and God revealed what to do. He listened and when he obeyed what God told him, their nation entered into the Valley of Blessing.
Notice the variety of blessings (tangible and intangible) Jehoshaphat received from God because he put his trust in God to deliver them.
They sought the blessing of protection from the Lord and God gave them much more.
Jehoshaphat held onto God’s promises to receive what they were powerless to do (win the battle). They were blessed with God by their side.
They received a blessing of victory.
They were blessed when the Lord kept them safe.
They received a blessing of encouragement.
They received a blessing of confidence that the battle was the Lords.
They experienced the blessing of God’s peace by standing still and watching what God was doing. 2 Chronicles 20:12-17
When the war was over, they turned their attention and gave thanks to God. Through their worship, God poured more blessings into their lives.
They experienced the blessings of God’s presence and holy splendor. (verses 20-22)
They received an abundance of equipment, clothing, and other valuables - more than they could carry (verse 25). The chapter doesn’t end highlighting blessings of material wealth. The emphasis is that they were filled with God’s blessings of joy and protection and they entered into the Valley of Blessing (2 Chronicles 20:26-30).
They experienced the blessing of rest and peace.
Choose to live in the Valley of Blessing, not in the valley of despair. The more you read the Word, the more you will see how God invokes benefits of a lifetime. The Word of God will inevitably reveal how you view God’s blessings in your life. It’s where you are faced with the the undeniable truth of who and what you put your trust in.
Take time to speak a blessing into someone’s life the way a stranger did for me. Don’t underestimate how eight simple words have the power to bring hope, peace, and God’s presence into someone’s life. Words of blessing aren’t merely kind gestures with a pleasant ring to our ears.
A blessing is a prayer that the Lord will be with the one you bless.
Friends, “may the Lord bless you and keep you,” today and always.