Categories: God's Provision
Do you know what God wants to do for us and has already done for us? Give us abundant blessings! Just listen:
"I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in!" (Mal 3:10 NLT)
Such a statement may make some laugh sarcastically, especially when so many people are facing issues of lack -- lack of housing, food, adequate finances, employment, love, water for crops or to drink, and on and on. Even governments are dealing with issues of lack in the form of out-of-control debt.
What has to happen in our lives for us to "get" this abundance … or to receive what God is giving us? Perhaps it's just a shift in focus -- focusing on God rather than ourselves, seeing what God is already giving us. Perhaps it's a call to action -- doing something for others or including them in our prayers. Perhaps it's a change of attitude -- letting God lead us rather than assuming we can do it all; being grateful rather than critical or disappointed. It may be different for each individual and different in each situation.
GIVE ALL TO GOD
Regarding the reference above: for the people in Malachi's time to feel God's abundance, they had to rededicate their lives to God. As we know, the Jews wavered in their trust in God. At times, they were fully committed to honoring God; at other times, they served other gods. The writers of the Old Testament showed that prosperity accompanied the Jews when they gave all to God, but captivity or problems surrounded them when they ignored God.
Malachi is trying to wake them up, trying to get the Hebrews to turn back to God. God is saying: Give everything to Me (the full tithe to the temple); trust in Me; serve Me; honor Me. Just try or test Me in this. When you really worship Me with your whole heart, watch the result. The result is that you'll have more than you'll ever need, more than you'll be able to receive.
If we want to experience the abundance that God has in store for us, then we have to be willing to give everything -- our thoughts, desires, family, friends, lives -- to God. This means that we trust God to take care of every detail of our lives. Sometimes this seems hard. But just look at the promised result!
PRAY FOR -- LOVE -- OTHERS
The story of Job also proves God's abundant blessings. Job loves and honors God and is blessed with abundance. But then he loses just about everything except his wife. He loses children, wealth, health, you name it. Then, when he's still at rock-bottom, he finds himself blessed by God even more abundantly. What did Job need to do or think to experience abundance?
Job's situation turned around only when he prayed for the very "friends" who hadn't been all that friendly to him:
When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!... So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. (Job 42:10, 12 NLT)
Suddenly, the concept of love was expanded for Job. Job had always loved God. Now, he understood that loving God requires us to love others (a lesson Jesus would teach and demonstrate centuries later). Instead of just praying that his own situation would turn around, Job discovered the power of including others in his prayers. We can't wish for health or wealth or abundance for ourselves and not for others. It doesn't work like that. Everyone is included in God's love.
When Job discovered these truths, abundance filled his life. What's even more wonderful is that he shares his abundance with his next set of children in full, not just his sons. He includes his daughters in his will/inheritance -- something that was not typically done. Job provides for and blesses them. Expressing God's love, Job's love knows no bounds.
TRUST GOD, OUR SHEPHERD
According to the psalmist, knowing that God is our Shepherd yields overflowing blessings. David, said to have penned the 23rd Psalm, would have known something of shepherding, since he was one before he became king. His opening line is clear:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (KJV)
… I lack nothing. (NIV)
… I have all that I need. (NLT)
… I will never be in need. (The Message)
Because God is our shepherd, God meets all of our needs -- abundantly. Throughout this familiar and comforting psalm, David explains how God, as Shepherd, blesses us. God provides us with peace and stillness, restores and refreshes us, guides and protects us, sustains us, puts us on the right path, comforts us in times of fear, helps us feel secure and safe
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will
pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life. (The Message)
When we "dwell in house of the LORD" (KJV) -- that is, when we dwell on (focus on) all the love, beauty, greatness that God is and gives us (rather than dwell on what we think we lack or need or want) -- we can't help but experience abundance. It's a simple, but profound, shift in focus and perspective -- from our limited and personal view to God's unlimited and universal expression of omnipresent Love.
Paul's perspective was dramatically changed by the Christ touch. He was energized to share his view about God's blessings with the Corinthian church:
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God … is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. (The Message, 2 Cor 9:8)
The more we see and appreciate God's good gifts, the more we feel God's blessings. The more we love God, love our neighbors, and trust God to care for us as a shepherd cares for his flock, the more we see and experience God's abundant blessings. And then, we can bless others.