“So the people of Israel followed all of the LORD’S instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the LORD had commanded, he blessed them.”
My congregation and I are spending a few weeks studying the Tabernacle, the “Tent of Meeting” for the people of Israel while they were in route to the Promised Land. It is a great visual aid – all the symbolism, all the detail – of how a holy God interacts with a people that are often quite unholy – yet loved nonetheless.
The passage above caught my eye this week. It points out two important aspects of God’s blessing and how we receive it.
First, the people – in going about setting up the Tabernacle, “followed all of the LORD’S instructions….”
Too often, it seems to me that we expect God to bless us “just because.” Like children born in entitlement we think we deserve it “no questions asked, no demands made.” Here, however, we see that God’s blessings are a natural outpouring of God’s love once we position ourselves, according to His very specific instructions, to receive them.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I am no believer in a “health and wealth”or “prosperity” Gospel that says – do this – and God will bless you – period. Those instructions, often given by a TV preacher who wants to equate giving to him with God giving to you – please – give me a break.
On the other hand, I do believe that when we follow God’s instructions on how to live a holy, faithful life – as much as we are able to do so – we align ourselves with a lifestyle that often opens the door wide to God’s love. It is not that it is conditional as much as it is that we open our hearts, minds, bodies, souls, to the possibility of receiving God’s blessing.
Think of it this way, God’s grace is a gift – but we have to be willing and able to receive that gift.
Second, we note in this passage that Moses “inspected all of their work.” That speaks to me about accountability.
It’s a good thing to be accountable to one another, to the teachings of sound doctrine, to the body of Christ. It keeps us on that “straight and narrow path” that results in blessing.
Again, it’s not about a “quid pro quo” way of life – “I’ll be good but I expect God to be good to me in return.”
That is looking at God and all He can offer as if He is merely a big vending machine in the great by and by.
No, instead, it is our helping one another – to stay focused, to learn, to be vigilant and faithful, in our walk of faith. Do that, and blessing will follow.
Remember this too – it does not mean life will not at times be very hard. Moses and the people of Israel and all the saints through the ages know that the walk of faith can be difficult. Suffering is real and it is very hard.
Still, it does not mean God has been unwilling or unable to bless us along the way. In fact, I find that in reflecting on my life’s journey, some of God’s richest blessings have come to me during some of my darkest times.
So – stay strong – stay faithful – follow God’s instructions as best you can. We are not required to be perfect – just faithful.
Keep your eyes open for the blessing – for it will surely come.