Faithlife Sermons

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*Before we get started I want you to ask yourself do you really know what the word blessing means.
I mean we use it every day.*
*1.    **I am so blessed *
*2.    **Have a blessed day*
*3.    **God has really blessed me*
*4.    **Bless you (when someone sneezes)*
*5.    **I don’t think God could bless me any more.*
*We use the word blessing so much that it has become just another word to us.
Well I’m supposed to say that, I’m a Christian right.
What does blessing mean to God?
In the book of Genesis alone Bless, blessing or blessed is mentioned over 30 times, so with what we have learned before, it must be important.
I want to read to you what the word Blessing means out of several Bible dic, and commentaries.*
* **bless•ing** n*
*bef.
12c *
*1**     a      : the act or words of one that blesses *
*     b      : approval, encouragement *
*2**           : a thing conducive to happiness or welfare *
*3**           : grace said at a meal*
* *
*Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible:*
*Bless, Blessing.*
*Pronouncement of the favor of God upon an assembled congregation.
Worship services, especially observances of Holy Communion in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and most Protestant churches, usually end with a blessing spoken by the senior clergyman present.
This pronouncement (called “blessing” in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches and “benediction” in most Protestant churches) is based upon the widespread biblical precedent of blessing (Gn 27:27–29; Nm 6:22–27; Lk 24:50; 2 Cor 13:11, 14; Phil 4:7; 2 Thes 2:16, 17; Heb 13:20, 21).
When giving a blessing or benediction a clergyman usually raises his right hand and sometimes makes the sign of the cross.*
*The term “blessing” is also applied to thanksgiving for food and drink (Mt 14:19; Mk 8:7; Lk 24:30)*
* *
*Blessed** is the most common word in the Old Testament for God doing something favorable to someone or something.*
* *
* *
*Ok so now we have a little bit of an understanding of what a blessing is according to the books, but remember, my question was what does it mean To God?*
* *
*Genesis 12:2*
*The Lord said to Abram: “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”*
*Blessings, in the Bible, come in many forms.*
* *In the first creation story in Genesis 1, God created the great sea creatures, the fish, and the birds then, blessed them all.
*
* *Later in Genesis, Jacob and Esau have a bitter fight over their father’s blessing.
Now that would never happen, they might fight over dads wallet or what they get when dad dies, but not his blessing.*
* *In the book of Ruth, Naomi calls for the Lord to bless Boaz (2:20) *
* *The Psalmist cries, “blessed are those who walk in the light of the Lord,” “blessed are those who fear the Lord,” “and blessed are those who seek God’s justice.”
*
*Blessings are an important part of the Biblical narrative.*
*, As I said earlier the word blessings will come up fairly often in everyday interactions.
But why do we say it, better yet what do we mean by it?*
*Another common blessing-related interaction in our country occurs on the telephone, or perhaps at the supermarket checkout line.
Maybe you will have had a casual conversation with a stranger, which closes the conversation with the phrase, “Good bye, have a blessed day.”*
*Sometimes, even, in the south especially, one might say a simple, “Hello, how are you?”
And the response may be, “I’m blessed.”*
*With as often as we use it, do we have God’s blessing figured out.
Sometimes I think,  blessings have become more of a verbal phenomenon than a theological one.
The words, “Have blessed day” at the end of phone conversation may be spoken in true faith, or they may be an unconsidered old habit.*
* But listen to how God sais it *-God said to Abram, “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”
*Now we don’t know much about Abram’s life before God’s call and blessing of Abram found in Genesis chapter 12.
The text says Abram was the son of Terah, husband of Sarai, and had no children.
We do know that having children was very important in Abram’s time, as they would provide for their family, care for their parents in old age, and carry on the bloodline.
We know that Abram was 75 years old when he received God’s call.
But that’s about all we know about Abram.
(By the way, let that be a reminder to anyone who thinks you are too old to do God’s work–God called a 75 year-old to leave his homeland and bring about God’s covenant people.)*
*I imagine Abram sitting in a tent somewhere in the desert, content in his old age, having a cup of tea and some shortbread when God busts through the ceiling of the tent.*
*“Abram, pack your bags.
We’re going on a trip.
Take Sarai with you–it’ll be a long journey, but I think you’ll find the compensation package suitably rewarding.
You may as well pack everything you own since you’re never coming back.
Oh, and I’m not telling you where we’re going.
It’s cool though, stick with me and all the nations of the earth will call you blessed.”*
*Abram, shell-shocked, couldn’t figure out anything else to do than pack his bags and get going.*
*Abram’s call and blessing from God was a big one, big enough to be remembered for all eternity.
But God is still calling and blessing today.
Maybe God’s not  breaking down the roof of your tent, speaking directly to you, and describing the future.
But God blesses still.*
*Look at our VBS and how many children were taught the good news of the gospel.
Think how many meals on family day were shared in fellowship.
Think how many hymns were sung to the glory of God.
Think of the many ways God will bless this church in the future.
And know, God blesses still.*
*It’s unfortunate the /Revised English Bible /translation that we use in worship chooses a different way to phrase God’s instructions to Abram.
My favorite translations say, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”*
*It’s that phrase, “you will be a blessing” that stands out to me.
Usually we think of blessings only as something given rather than something enacted and embodied.
God tells Abram, “Be a blessing.”*
*The translators of the /Revised English Bible/ chose a different wording, “I will make your name so great that it will be used in blessings.”*
*Literally in the Hebrew the phrase means, “so be you a blessing.”
So I think the English, “be a blessing” probably makes the most sense.*
*But before we go off to be blessings to the people we need to consider why Abram is a blessing.*
*God said to Abram, \\ I will make of you a great nation, \\ and I will bless you, \\ and make your name great, /so that/ you will be a blessing.*
*God is at work here.
It is God who’s doing the blessing, and only in response to God’s blessing can Abram be a blessing to others.
God calls, and Abram responds.*
*Far too often today we switch that order around, claiming God is blessing us while what’s actually happening is that we’re neglecting our call to be blessings to others.
God doesn’t tell Abram, “be blessed, sit in your tent and drink you tea,” but “be a blessing, pack your bags, forget your pension, follow me to a land I have prepared.”*
*Are we willing to follow after Gods blessing: I have learned and I am still learning, in order to be blessed we must first be a blessing.
But how?
Let me show you.
Believe it or not God is pouring out blessing on us like rain, But since we are not tuned into God we miss most of them For example.
{Use the blessing buckets}*
*It’s easy to sit back and thank God for our blessings, especially when they are material.
We can thank God for the blessing of our warm houses–and that’s a good thing to do–we can thank God for the blessing of family–as we should–we can thank God for the blessing of a friends, a strong church, a lovely town–as we do–but the call of God doesn’t stop there.*
*Abram was blessed, then hit the road.
Sure the blessing may have sounded nice at the time, but I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable–leaving one’s country, kindred, and father’s house to move to an unknown land.*
*Did you notice, the text doesn’t tell us Abram’s spoken response.
It just says, “So Abram went as the Lord told him.”
Can you imagine what Abram must have said and thought?*
*What is this crazy God thinking now?
I’m 75 years old and have no children–how will my family be blessed?
God will make my name great?
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