The word “blessing” has quite a few meanings. In our Western mind-set the word blessing is often equated with “prosperity” or “benefit”. Do we not live in a culture where many, if not most, people are dependent on government benefits? The idea of entitlement has grown to epidemic proportions. There was a day in the history of this nation that this was not the case. Our forefathers and especially the Puritans had a hard work ethic, coupled with reverence for God, that brought many blessings their way. The way of “blessing” was considered at that time to be a combination of hard work and expectancy that the Lord would “bless” (multiply) their efforts and bring the increase.
So what are we talking about when we suggest that there are instances in the scriptures where blessings may not be blessings at all? In Jeremiah 44 we see the prophet trying to warn the people of Israel to turn back to God. Their response (v. 16) was “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.” (Jeremiah 44:16-18) Satan had so deceived their minds through rebellion that obedience to the ways of the Lord was perceived to be hardship. They preferred comfort to conviction. The spirit of idolatry apparently brings temporary results.
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matthew 4:1
Jesus had been fasting for forty days and forty nights. After the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread Jesus replied, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Secondly the devil took Jesus to a “pinnacle of the city” and told him to throw himself down because angels would not let him be harmed. Jesus said, “It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (v.7)
There were three temptations but the third is one we rarely hear about. Scriptures say that “the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (v.9)
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.“ (v.10)
What really got my attention in these verses is that the devil took Jesus first to a “pinnacle of the city” which is a high place; however, somehow he was able to take Jesus to an exceedingly high mountain to reveal all the kingdoms of this world.
“So what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26) In three distinct scriptures in the Book of John Jesus refers to the devil as the prince of this world.
It is the will of God for His people to prosper and be in good health but the point of this message is we can prosper even in times of distress, perplexity, and economic downturn. This is the true blessing from heaven. “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
What is the promise of the Spirit? The blessings of Abraham were fulfilled when the Holy Ghost was poured out upon all flesh 2,000+ years ago on the Day of Pentecost.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and your children and as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38,39) Beloved, the promise of the infilling of the Holy Ghost is the true blessing from heaven, without which no man shall see the Lord. His Spirit is a Holy Spirit.
“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Prov. 10:22)