“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” – Ephesians 1: (NASB)
Sometimes common usage of a word might lead to a slightly different meaning that the original intended. Say it often enough or read it frequently and the meanings merge. This results sometimes in losing the significance of what the author intended. And example is the exchange of the English words ‘blessed’ and ‘happy.’ Sometimes a Scripture reference with blessed is read as if it says happy. There certainly is a similarity between the meanings. Our passage today uses forms of the word ‘bless’ three different ways. First is ‘blessed be’ as an adjective which is applied only to God in the New Testament Greek. Second is ‘has blessed’ as a verb and communicates God’s promise that He has already given believers total blessing. Third is “spiritual blessing’ used as a noun and not immaterial as opposed to material blessings, but rather speaks of the work of God as the divine source of all blessings we are receiving, have received, and will receive. It is worth noting that it is “in the heavenly” domain from where all blessings come. We may well have joy and happiness because of this promise but saying were ‘happy’ would use a different word.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” – Ephesians 1:3-4 (ESV)
Whenever we attend a memorial service at a funeral, one part is almost always included is a eulogy. It may be given by a minister, a family member, or friend. The eulogy’s purpose is to speak well and to bless the one being memorialized. The first word in our verses today is “Blessed” and it is derived from the same Greek word we get “eulogy.” It means to praise or commend. Every human has a supreme duty to bless God by thought, word and deed. Not all do. As faith believers we have already been fully blessed in Christ. When the Apostle Paul writes “blessed be” he is using the meaning to give praise to God. When the Apostle writes “has blessed” he is saying that all who are in Christ have already received from Him every spiritual blessing possible. God has already given believers total blessings. And, this He did when God chose us to be in Christ before the world was made by Him. This promise of being holy and blameless before God became ours before the worlds foundations were set. It was God’s choice to promise this for His creatures and its for His praise and glory.
“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!” – Psalm 119:2-3 (ESV)
Psalm 119* is longest of the psalms and chapters in the Bible. Like Psalm 1 and 19 it exults God’s Word. We cannot be certain who the psalmist is since he is not identified. Each verse contains the author’s reverence and love for the Word of God (using eight different terms**), we take each of the statements as an affirmation of the promises God has given us regarding the effectiveness of His Word. We find again the use of the word “heart” which refers to our intellect, volition, and emotion. When we say we are seeking God with “all my heart” what we are affirming is that we have a complete commitment to God and to His Word. We don’t use it occasionally or when our circumstances are desperate and we are driven to seek God’s will in His Word. We don’t use is conveniently or only when we think about it. Our promise is that as we keep our commitment to what God has instructed us in His Word, it will keep us from doing wrong. It will keep us on the path He has made straight before us.
*This is an acrostic psalm composed of 22 sections, each containing 8 lines. All 8 lines of the first section start with the first letter of the Hebrew (language). alphabet; thus the psalm continues until all 22 letters have been used in order.
Every verse includes a reference to one of these terms. Other acrostic psalms are Psalms 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 145) referring to Scripture occurring throughout the psalm are: 1) law, 2) testimonies, 3) precepts, 4) statutes, 5) commandments, 6) judgments, 7) word, and 8) ordinances.
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.” – Psalm 25:1-3 (ESV)
David often struggled with the demanding issues of life. In this psalm he writes of avoiding denial and affirming dependence. He knows he must trust God in the face of his troubles and troublemakers. The important perception of shame for the wicked and no shame for the righteous returns is our promise. There are actually two promises here – one is positive for those who trust and wait for God and the other is negative for those who are disloyal and unfaithful. First, there is no shame in waiting for the Lord to act for us or give us the guidance we can have only from Him. It is good for us to remember that waiting for God to act on our behalf is a manifestation of the faith He has given to us. We are always fighting the temptations to rush ahead with our own plan. In Isaiah 30:18 God is waiting to be pour his grace upon us and He will. Waiting is a way to blessing. Second, those who are recklessly unfaithful and deceitful; those who seek to follow their own way are the ones who will be shamed for trusting in their own false teaching.
“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” – John 13:17 (NASB)
A favorite quote is “It’s always better to know than not know.” That sort of flies in the face of another quote of lesser quality, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” Well, not knowing some things or overlooking them might result in loss. What things you might ask? Anything we know we should do in obedience to God. There should be no delay is what Jesus was saying to his disciples at the last meal they had together before His arrest, suffering and crucifixion. It happened to be the Passover meal and Jesus knew the time had come for Him to go through all that it was going to take to provide salvation to all who were lost in their sin. Phony obedience is a state of mind in which we work up occasions to sacrifice ourselves; zeal is mistaken for thoughtfulness. It is easier to sacrifice ourself than to fulfil our spiritual purpose. (Romans 12:1–2) As the prophet Samuel said to the disobedient King Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) The promise we have today is that joy is always tied to obedience to God’s revealed Word..
“Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer Nor His lovingkindness from me.” Psalm 66:20 (NASB)
Perhaps there are times when we feel as if God has not heard our prayers or maybe rejected them. God always hears the prayers of those who abide in Him and love Him. As so many of the songs we have in the book of Psalms in our Bible, this is an expression by the writer about what God had done for him. Written many centuries ago we can still believe this promise and it can become our own expression of praise to God. We know that God hears and answers our prayers and even in those times when we receive an answer different than our request, we know that God has not rejected our prayer. He may have answered it in a different way than we expected or hoped, but we know it is in a way that is best for us because He loves us and he does not withhold his love from us. Our promise today is that He has not rejected our prayer, and because he loves us so much, he has given us an answer that is better for us. Let’s trust Him today and enjoy His love for us.
“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands.” Psalm 112:1 (NIV)
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7 (NIV)
There is a positive result seen in the promises of these two verses from Psalm 112. With no title to this Psalm, it is evidently a companion to Psalm 111. We consider the promises in these verses. The exhortation at the beginning of 112:1 is never given too often; our Lord is the LORD God and He always deserves praise. The exhortation is for all thoughtful persons who observe the way and manner of life that appropriately fears the Lord. God’s favor towards the God-fearing is a display of His character and encourages gracious feelings in others. We study the divine precepts while we endeavor to observe them, and we rejoice doing so. Our promises are: We will have no dread that evil tidings will come, and we will not be alarmed when they do come. If our hearts are fixed in our reliance upon God, any change in circumstances will barely affects us; our faith makes our conviction steadfast. When the worst should come to worst we rest and remain quiet, patiently, waiting for God.
Compare line by line Psalms 111 & 112 and see the greatness of God and its reflection.
“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.” Psalm 112:1 (NASB)
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7 (ESV)
The act of fearing the LORD is an emphasis throughout the Old Testament. The concept “fear of the Lord” occurs most prominently in the Old Testament’s Wisdom Literature such as our selected verse today. It is defined as the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) or, as the responsible attitude of all humanity toward God (Ecclesiastes12:13). When it is used it conveys either devotion or dread of consequential punishment. Such a devotional attitude is both fitting and pleasing to our Lord God. We can and should fear God in both ways. When faith believers are walking in the fear of the Lord, they are also in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Such and attitude actually give us courage from our faith so that we are not afraid when bad tidings come our way. No one likes bad news but true Christians have no need to fear any news we receive. We have been given steadfast hearts, firm and trusting in the LORD. We can actually say, if we fear the Lord God, we really have no need to fear anything else in this world ⸺we are blessed because we fear only the Lord.