According to much of the teachings today concerning blessings, the key to being and getting blessed is faith! But is that what the Bible actually teaches? Well, while faith is an important element in the Christian walk, according to the Bible, the main determinant of blessings is not faith, but rather; obedience!
In fact, there is no mention in the Bible where we are specifically instructed to ‘have faith’ ‘pray for blessings’ or ‘pray to be blessed!’ The first mention of the word ‘bless’ is in Genesis 1:22 and 1:28. In Genesis 1:22, in reference to the creation of animals to populate the air and the seas, the Bible says: “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. (KJV) Genesis 1:28 is a reference to the creation of man and the text says: “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” (Christian Standard Bible 2017) Note that they didn’t have to pray or ask God to bless them, God blessed them in order for them to function and do according to what God had created them to function and do! Being blessed was part and parcel to their creation, function, and purpose!
Deuteronomy 28:1-3 says: “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. . . . (NKJ) Read the text carefully! Israel’s blessings would not come by faith or prayer, but by being careful and diligent to obey all of the commandments of the Lord! Let’s look at Joshua 1:7-8. The Lord said to Joshua as he was about to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land: “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (NKJ) Note the instructions! Joshua was not instructed to pray, to have faith, or to ask for blessings! Blessings would automatically come, if Joshua would be careful to ‘observe to do according to all the law which Moses . . had commanded.’ He was instructed to meditate in the Book of the Law in order to ‘observe to do according to all that is written therein.’ The Lord told Joshua as he did that: ‘you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Again! The blessings and prosperity would come, not as the results of asking, praying, or having faith, but from being obedient to the commands of the Lord!
This is exactly what Jesus was saying when he said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matt. 6:25-33 NKJ) The Kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God, His righteousness is being in right-standing or right-relationship with His rule and authority! Therefore, to ‘seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness’ is to seek to be in compliance with the commandments of God and in right-relationship with God! How do we do this? By being obedient to God’s expressed written commands! We’ve made it hard and complicated, but it’s really quite easy and simple! If you want to be blessed and enjoy the favor of God, just obey God’s commands!
No! We are not to seek to be blessed! We are to seek to be obedient! In fact, Jesus said that our Father knows that we have need of all those things, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Therefore, when we seek after those things, we are actually acting like people who don’t know God! For just as God provides for the birds as they go about in their ‘bird-ness,’ God will supply our needs (bless us) as we go about obediently fulfilling our purpose by doing what He created and called us to be and do!
It’s a ‘bad word’ these days because people want to be free from authority, even the authority of God! But the key to being blessed is, in fact, submission to the authority of God! This is what the church is supposed to be teaching! Not some ill-conceived, unbiblical, God-dishonoring blessing plan! The grand marching orders of the church is found in Matthew 28:18-20, where Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(ESV) Note that Jesus is the ultimate authority! Note also that based on that authority, the followers of Jesus are commanded to ‘make disciples of all nations.’ When one looks at the grammatical syntactical composition of what we call ‘the Great Commission,’ there is only one verb in the whole totality of words in verses 18-20! That verb is; ‘to make disciples.’ That is the only thing Jesus commanded us to do; make disciples! All of the other ‘action’ words, such as ‘go’ ‘baptizing’ and ‘teaching’ are actually participles! Participles modify the verb! Therefore, going, baptizing and teaching are the means by which we are to ‘make disciples.’ Notice, even here, there is an element of obedience! Part of the process of making disciples is teaching people to observe (to do, to be obedient to) all that Jesus commanded!
The old song-writer was right when he said: “When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who trust and obey! Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy (blessed) in Jesus, but to trust and obey!