Do you want God to bless you? In Genesis 26:12, we learn that the Lord blessed Isaac. In today’s sermon we are going to consider whether or not we want to be blessed by God like Isaac was. Before you quickly answer “Oh course!”, let us consider what God’s blessing entails and what it elicits. As we do so, let us strive to have a biblical understanding of God’s blessing and to be willing to count the cost. Let us consider:
- God’s Blessing Entails Prosperity. God’s blessing results in prosperity. Yes, this may include material prosperity, but it may not. Do not listen to anyone, especially a preacher, who tells you that God’s primary concern is to make you rich. In Isaac’s case, he did prosper materially as “he became very wealthy”, but he prospered in other ways as well. God’s blessing may include financial prosperity, but is not limited to it. God’s blessing is far greater than money. God’s blessing includes being filled with the Spirit and showing the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, etc. God’s blessing comes with responsibility. If God blesses you with possessions, you manage them for His glory, not your own. Everything God entrust to you is done so for eternal purposes.
- God’s Blessing Entails Faithfulness. Isaac is greatly blessed by God because of God’s faithfulness. This is a very important point: God’s blessings are not based on our faithfulness, but on His faithfulness. God’s blessings are not tied to our performance, but on the finished work of Christ. God does not love us more on our good days or love us less on our bad days. God’s love is steadfast. God’s blessing is tied to Jesus and is graciously given as a result of His righteousness. Consider Isaac, he had moments of great faith and weak faith; through it all God was always faithful. This is encouraging to us when we fail and humbling to us when we are victorious.
- God’s Blessing Elicits Opposition. When the Philistines saw how prosperous Isaac had become, “they envied him.” They were intensely jealous of Isaac, wanting what he had, and wanting him gone. God’s blessings can draw out two different responses in people. Sometimes God’s blessing draws unbelievers to Jesus resulting in salvation. Other times, ungodly people may see God’s blessing and despise it and you. Paul wrote about this in 2 Timothy 3:12: “all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Let us remember that the presence of opposition is not always a sign that we are doing anything wrong. Sometimes, doing of what right is what draws the ire of others.
- God’s Blessing Elicits Faith. Isaac had numerous quarrels with the herdsman of Gerar and finally found a place with room enough to settle. The Lord appeared to him saying, “Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you.” God continually reaffirms His promises and blessing to Isaac in order to remind Isaac to trust Him in all things. Paul wrote in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Christians may have many enemies, but they are powerless over us because God is for us and blessing us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13).
What about you? Do you want God to bless you? What if God’s blessing brought greater difficulty into your life, would you still want it? Sadly, too many self-proclaimed Christians would rather have peace with the world than peace with God. True Christians will seek a Christ-honoring life regardless of the fallout in the world. May we all strive to live a life worthy of Jesus, trusting Him in all things.
Grow Group Guide
God’s Blessing (Genesis 26:12-33)
Open with prayer and then have someone volunteer to read Genesis 26. After reading the text, discuss the following questions:
- What does the text say? (What happened? What happened next? What happened after that?) What happened to Isaac after the famine ended? What was the response of the Philistines to Isaac’s prosperity? What did the Philistines do to Abraham’s wells? What did Abimelech tell Isaac to do? What did the herdsmen of Gerar do to Isaac? What did the Lord tell Isaac? What happened between Abimelech and Isaac?
- What does it tell us about God? (Discuss the nature and character of God.) Why would God’s blessing result in envy? What does it mean that God blessed Isaac? Is God’s blessing always material? In what ways are God’s blessing not material? Why did God reaffirm the covenant to Isaac during his opposition? How could Abimelech know that the Lord was with Isaac?
- What does it tell us about ourselves? (What are the human characters in the story doing or not doing that serve as a warning or encouragement to us?) How did Isaac respond to his new material prosperity? What problems arise due to material prosperity? How can a Christian use their wealth faithfully? What did Isaac do during the opposition? What did he do after the opposition was over?
- How am I going to think, speak, and live differently because of what I learned? James writes that we should be doers of the word and not just hearers (James 1:22). It is not enough to know what the story says, it is important to apply the truth of the story to our lives. Take some time in prayer and consider some changes that you need to make in the following areas: