I was recently talking with a friend that I might be presenting the Salvation Covenant as a formula to receive blessings from God. My response is that yes I am presenting God’s Salvation Covenant is a formula for us to receive His promised blessings. I believe that inside of God’s Salvation Covenant are the guidelines or the formula to bless us, our families, and those around us.
In this blog, I am interrupting my series on the Salvation Covenant to focus on the blessings that we can expect when we walk and live inside the parameters of His Covenant (the Ten Commandments) with a circumcised heart, what I will call ‘the formula.’
Blessings are not just a testament of God’s love for us but the results of faithfully walking out His Commandments.
I believe that blessings are the essence of being in a true relationship with God. However, what makes this blog so difficult is what people see as the lack of blessings or even curses which is the exact complaint that many people have with God. Many people see the injustices that have happened in their own lives, or against innocent people, or even against people who appear to be in a relationship with God and blame God for some see as inaction.
So the questions I would like to address in this blog is: Is God’s Covenant designed specifically to bless His people? What causes God’s blessings in our lives? And finally; How should our blessings look?
To begin to answer these questions let’s first look at what God says are some of the blessings that He promises and how exactly we can receive them, what we have now named formula 1 and formula 2.
Deuteronomy 11:26-27: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today….”
Deuteronomy 28:7-14: “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”
According to His word the “formula” is if we listen to His word, and will follow all of His commandments we will be blessed in various forms and in various ways. In other words, we can see that if any one person was to listen to His voice and obey His commands then God would then serve that person by blessing them.
The idea that two people could operate in such a way as to serve and bless one another is the basis for a all genuine interactive relationships. This is what God intended for us from the beginning and the reason that He gave us His Covenant, for us to be in a real interactive relationship with Him.
We can see as much in Exodus 19:5: “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine….”
God has promised us many blessings if we enter a self-sacrificing relationship with Him. He has promised us blessings in this age and the blessing of eternal life and more in the age-to-come. In this blog we are only going to look at the blessings that are for us now in this age.
For now let us remember what we saw in formula 1 and 2 and that is when we serve God according to His word He promises to serve us (bless us) according to His word, two people (or in this case God and man) serving each other in love. This is what constitutes an interactive loving relationship between Him and us.
Walking by faith
The first thing we need to come to terms with is our faith. His blessings are designed for those who are willing to “listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” It is by faith that we listen to His voice and obey His commandments. If we cannot accept what He is telling us as true then we should not expect to receive the fruit that comes as a result of having faith in Him, listening to Him, and being in a true interactive relationship with Him.
It is by faith that we find the desire to have a relationship Him, but that alone is not enough. It is by faith that we learn to trust in His word explicitly, but that alone is not enough. It is by faith we that we find the yearnings to know Him, but that alone is not enough. It is by faith that we develop a longing to follow Him, but that alone is still not enough. It is by faith that we plan and strategize to overcome our flesh and to walk in His ways, but that alone is not enough. To be His people we must have a faith in Him that brings together a desire to have a relationship with Him, a trust that says His word is true, a yearning to know Him, a longing to follow Him, a strategy to walk in His ways, and the self-control, courage and commitment to carry it out no matter how difficult, how much time, or what obstacles we must overcome.
It is then that our faith causes us to become His.
Faith and Trust
We know that it is by faith that we trust that His word is true. Deuteronomy 4 shows us a picture how those with faith should see His word.
Deuteronomy 4:5-8: “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?’”
We can see that not only is it by faith that we trust that His word is true, but it is by faith that we value His word as the keys to life. It is by some increased measure of faith that we see a true interactive relationship with God as something that must be sought after and acted upon.
Deuteronomy gives us a test for those who are to be His. Deuteronomy 13:1-4: “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
It is by faith in Him and His word that causes us to listen to His word and to conform our lives to His word.
It is by faith in Him that causes us to reject the pastors and priests that tell us not to walk inside of commandments. That His commandments are of the Old Covenant. The ingredients to be His are and always will be the same we must have or develop the faith to “follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
Having the faith to listen to pastors and priests is not the same as having the faith to keep His commandments, to listen to His voice, to serve Him, and to cling to Him.
It is in our service to Him, which is obeying His commandments and listening to His voice, that our relationship with Him develops. It is this formula that is the measure of our understanding and our faith in Him.
The more truth we learn about Him and the more we understand His word the better our half of our relationship with Him becomes and the more inline we will be to receive His blessings.
Understanding God’s Blessings
When we have given ourselves over to being in a true interactive relationship with Him, (that is to turn our eyes away from ourselves and to put our eyes on Him) by listening to His voice and serving Him according to His word then we can start watching for His blessings in our lives.
When we think of blessings our minds often go to money or things.
However, let us look at some of the fruit of walking inside of His covenant.
In Galatians 5:22-24 we see the fruit of walking in the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
The fruits of the Spirit are the fruits that come about when we walk in His Covenant and lead us to the blessings of functional relationships with those around us and are the same traits which are the product of loving Him and others.
His Covenant is designed to make us take our eyes off ourselves and to develop the attributes of love. We can understand and see what God knows is our true blessings of walking according to His Covenant which we must acknowledge is the greatest blessing ever bestowed upon mankind, love. The love, of course, that we have being in a true interactive relationship with God, but also inside of the loving relationships that develop under the guidance of His word with those around us.
It is the learned character traits that are developed when we walk according to His Covenant that fosters the love and service of our fellow man.
We can see this in 1 Corinthians 13:4-9: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….”
Walking in His Salvation Covenant results in our ability to stop seeking our own good but to seek the good and service of others, which is how we love and in turn allow others to love us. This ability to love and be loved is the greatest blessing that we or the world will ever know. It is inside of our deepest loving and caring relationships, that have been allowed to completely develop to their fullest potential as a result of our listening and serving God which directs us on how to serve those around us, where the true blessings for our lives today exist.
By faith we walk according to His word causing us to be transformed by His Covenant which compels us to curb our anger, our lusts, our betrayals, our thefts, and our coveting. in short we must take control of everything that His Covenant commands which is everything that is constantly destroying our relationships and become a people like molded into his image walking in the love and service of others.
When we recognize God as our only authority (above our own fleshly desires) and the source of all wisdom and understanding (beyond our own limited abilities) and by that same faith we walk in His Covenant standards in humbleness and self-control we will lift up and serve those around us just as His word tells to.
Hopefully this is enough for us to understand that the real blessings of His Covenant is for us to develop and build functional loving relationships with Him and with those around us. The real blessings of His word is and always has been, us. We are the true blessings that God has promised us if we will listen to His voice and walk in His Covenant.
It is the blessings of beautiful loving relationships with our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends, and with the communities around us. A relationship with us is what God values more than anything else. He wants us to view others in the same light that He does, as the most valued blessings in our lives.
If we understood or had enough faith in His word that we accepted the fact that the effect of committedly pushing through all the enslaving aspects of our flesh and walking according to His Covenant would result in true, loving, serving relationships, I can imagine all the additional blessings, like joy, peace, gratitude, health etc, that would follow.
Good relationships don’t just happen. It is why we have a rule of law? It governs the relationships between people.
The Greek and Roman rule of law was, of course, based on the word of God. His law was designed by Him to make us remove our eyes off of ourselves and put our eyes on those around us in order to serve properly those around us thus bringing His people together in mutual service and harmony. Together God’s people can build loving families, dependable friends, and strong innovative communities which together can accomplish anything. In short it is man’s understanding and faithful adherence to God’s covenant that is the source of God’s blessings in our lives in this age. It is in this very act of faithfully loving and serving God that God is loving and serving us.
In Genesis 11 we are told the story of Babel and it showed us what happens when we are united together in a common effort with a common understanding and communication. Genesis 11: 1-6: “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.’”
This verse shows us what we already know that when people are united together under one common authority nothing will be impossible. That is the essence of His Salvation Covenant uniting us together under His authority in the common understanding of our Covenant service to Him and others and the applied action of that service to Him and those around us. It is in the guidelines or commandments of His Covenant that we learn how to love and serve those around us and exalts the value of those around us and the relationships that we share with them that makes nothing impossible.
It is when people turn away from God’s word putting their eyes back upon themselves, and return to serving their own fleshly desires in the futile effort to seek happiness outside of His wisdom that we devalue our relationships and people in general and view others as obstacles or tools to be controlled or used for our own goals and desires that families are broken, friends are betrayed, and societies ruined.
His Covenant is the Foundation
His Covenant or His instructions are the foundation for our relationships. Once we are able to honor our families, take control of our anger, our lusts, our thefts, our injustices, and our coveting that we perpetrate against one another it is then that we can add on to these specific Covenant commandments our own unique brand of love and service that can care and to serve people beyond the foundation of His Covenant, to further lift up and find value in others.
We will talk more about this in my blog on husbands and wives.
God Blesses Us in Our Obedience
When I am talking about the blessings that God sends to us. I am not suggesting that God blesses us beyond the natural laws of physics, although He can and even may at times.
We can see that we should not walk in a way that we expect miracles to deliver us out of our own self-inflicted situations. We can see that Jesus Himself cautions us against that in Matthew 4:6-7: “‘…and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will command His angels concerning You’; and on their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘On the other hand, it is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Also, I am not suggesting that God’s people are not persecuted, and specifically targeted by the spirit of Satan. As people who know the truth we must stand prepared to give our lives for that truth. As warriors for God’s truth we are all ultimately called to give our lives in sacrifice for His truth and for His glory. Jesus sacrificed Himself for the truth of His word and to deliver us from our sins.
In Hebrews we are told of the many who came before us and sacrificed themselves so we could be so blessed in knowing Him and His truth. We owe as much to those coming behind us and we should even view the chance to give our lives for His truth and His glory as an honor as many before us have. Suffering persecution and even death is not to be seen as not being blessed. We can surely be blessed through our loving relationships and still find ourselves in a place of persecution and in the peril of death. If the last thing we do is lift up those around us and point them to the undying love of our Father, then we have done well.
Hebrews 11:35-39: “Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”
Those who have sacrificed themselves and their lives for Him and His truth will find many more blessings in the age-to-come.
May we recognize our relationship with God and with those around as our true blessings in this life and cherish and honor them as such. Also, may we understand that if we want God’s blessings on our lives then we must listen to His truths and recognize that with the promise of His great blessings comes the promise of our own personal sacrifice. The blessings of God, as are all good things are, can only be had through personal sacrifice. It is the sacrificing of the desires of our flesh for His promised blessings and in the trust that His word is true that we are born-again being transformed to live in control of our anger, our lusts, our thefts, our injustices, and our coveting. May it be that through faith in His promises and His word that we serve Him and one another and live faithfully inside His Covenant which exalts the value of those we are in relationships with and causes those relationships to prosper, grow, and to bear much fruit.
Next blog we will continue back with His Salvation Covenant: The Fifth Commandment (Part 3).
Until then Shabbat Shalom!