The following devotional is from the public domain version of Faith’s Checkbook, August 4 entry, by Charles Spurgeon.
He Blesses And Keeps
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. – Num. 6:24This first clause of the high priest’s benediction is substantially a promise. That blessing which our great High Priest pronounces upon us is sure to come, for He speaks the mind of God.What a joy to abide under the divine blessing! This puts a gracious flavor into all things. If we are blessed, then all our possessions and enjoyments are blessed; yea, our losses and crosses and even our disappointments are blessed. God’s blessing is deep, emphatic, effectual. A man’s blessing may begin and end in words, but the blessing of the Lord makes rich and sanctifies. The best wish we can have for our dearest friend is not “may prosperity attend thee,” but “the Lord bless thee.”It is equally a delightful thing to be kept of God; kept by Him, kept near Him, kept in Him. They are kept indeed whom God keeps; they are preserved from evil; they are reserved unto boundless happiness. God’s keeping goes with His blessing, to establish it and cause it to endure.The author of this little book desires that the rich blessing and sure keeping here pronounced may come upon every reader who may at this moment be looking at these lines. Please breathe the text to God as a prayer for His servants.
The second paragraph “hit my soul” this morning:
If we are blessed, then all our possessions and enjoyments are blessed; yea, our losses and crosses and even our disappointments are blessed.
Wow! I can honestly say that I have never thought of disappointments as being blessed by God. And I have certainly had my share of disappointments in life.
Disappointed at myself.
Disappointed at my situation.
Disappointed with children.
So totally, outlandishly, disappointed with the j-o-b (please don’t make me say that word!)
And yes, even disappointed by God.
More specifically, disappointed that He hasn’t answered the many prayers prayed over the previously listed disappointment.
Even Disappointments Are Blessed
But Spurgeon makes it clear that the first clause of the high priestly prayer – God bless thee and keep thee – does indeed cover disappointments.
Merriam-Webster Online says “disappointment” can mean
- the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.
- a person, event, or thing that causes disappointment.
Yes and yes. I agree with both.
God blesses the feeling of sadness or displeasure. God blesses the thing that causes disappointment. Should this make me feel better? Have more hope that the disappointment will go away? Actually, it doesn’t make me feel better. The 24/7 living with ongoing disappointments feel like a full-grown elephant sitting on my chest. This tells me that I am misunderstanding the weight of the blessing.
What exactly does “bless” mean? According to HALOT (The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament), the Numbers 6:24 usage means “to bless = to wish someone to have special power.”
Numbers 6:27 says “Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” As God’s mediator, the high priest spoke this blessing over the people, and it was God Himself who actually did the act of blessing.
In the advent of Christ, the book of Hebrews says the following:
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
In the person of Jesus Christ, we have God Himself praying directly for us “May God bless you and keep you…”, which could easily be turned into “I will bless you and keep you…”.
And with this personal blessing from Jesus, He endues us with special power,
Therefore, when God blesses, even my disappointments, that is, the feelings of sadness or displeasure, and/or the things that cause disappointment, He is present with me. His grace helps me in time of need. He gifts, awards, provides, grants me the divine power needed to endure the disappointment(s).
Too many times, well actually all the time, I focus on the disappointments. And all throughout, without realizing it, I have been blessed with divine power. As my mother used to say “If it had been a snake, it would have bitten you.” In other words, we usually see what we focus on, and totally miss out on the wonderful thing in front of our faces. That is, Jesus Himself, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), our great high priest who blesses us and always advocates for us. With this gift of power from God we can sincerely “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Heb. 12:3).
Even our disappointments are blessed!
Oh what a precious gift is the enduement of divine power to endure disappointments!
Father God, forgive me for focusing so intently on the disappointments in my life. I thank You for Your servant Charles Spurgeon, for his insights into Scripture, and his eloquent expression of its truth–both gifts from You. I thank You that he recorded the fruit of these gifts for later generations to receive a word in times of need. Jesus, please help me this day to focus on You. When disappointments drag me down into the miry pit, please advert my focus on the darkness to the light of the knowledge of You and Your love for me. Remind me that I matter to You. I confess it’s hard for me to say, but thank you for my disappointments. Because even they are blessed. And Jesus, in Your great mercy, let me overcome them. Thank you for blessing and keeping all who are reading these words. In Your Name, Amen.