Blessings of El Shaddai

M6D Blessings: What if We Are Not Seeing Them?

WHAT IF WE ARE NOT SEEING  BLESSINGS OF EL SHADDAI?

 

There may be times when we do trust the Lord, and live our lives with integrity, but it seems God’s blessings have stopped, or His face is turned away from us. We have unmet needs. What is wrong? If we ask ourselves some questions from Psalm 24, we will usually find our answer:

Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood, or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation [description] of those who seek Him, who inquire of and for Him, and [of necessity] require Him, who seek Your face, [O God of] Jacob. Selah [pause, and think of that]!—Psalm 24:3-6 Amplified (emphasis mine)

Are our hands clean and our hearts pure to receive blessings?

Clean hands of blessings

Are our hands clean and our heart pure? Are we experiencing the consequences of disobedience in Deuteronomy 28, as discussed in Chapter 5 of this book? Is sin causing God’s face to be hidden from us? God is talking to Christians, not unbelievers, when He says:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered. . . .”                                                                                                          —2 Chronicles 7:14-15

It may be hard to identify with “wicked ways,” but if we will come before the Lord honestly and ask Him if there is anything we need to get right with Him, He will certainly answer that prayer. A good one to pray is from Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Are we believing something false or speaking deceitfully that withholds blessings?

Blessings withheld by believing lies

Falsehood from the Hebrew has a double meaning. One means “taking the Lord’s name in vain” or “using the Lord’s name lightly or without thinking.”[1] Another means “anything not substantial, is not real, or is worthless”[2] In other words, has satan fed us a lie we are believing? Are we blaming God for our misfortune? The serpent’s strategy with Eve was to cast doubt on the Word God gave her and Adam. She quit trusting God and accepted the lie—you will not die—and ate the forbidden fruit. Satan’s continual strategy toward Christians is still the same, and then we blame God because things do not work out as we had once hoped.

Another question we need to ask ourselves is: “Am I holding a grudge because of something someone did or said to me, not forgiving; therefore, blaming God?” This is not real and worthless, because God cannot bless it. It is sin.

Blessings of El Shaddai

Jacob knew His God as El Shaddai. From Genesis 27, we learn that after Isaac finished blessing Jacob and he had scarcely left his father’s presence, “his brother Esau came in from hunting. He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, ‘My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.’”

“Who are you?” Isaac asked.

“I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”

Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”

When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me also, my father!”

But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times. He took my birthright and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

The only blessing Isaac could give was to tell Esau he would be the servant of his brother Jacob. This is when, because of Esau’s wrath, Jacob fled to the land of his Uncle Laban, where he lived for forty years—fourteen years to earn his two wives, twenty years as a neighboring wage earner, and six years to build his own herds.[3] Jacob reaped what he had sown, for Laban did everything he could do to deceive Jacob out of wages and flocks. Laban knew God was blessing him because of Jacob, yet begrudged giving his own son-in-law anything. When the time came that the Lord led Jacob to return to his homeland, Laban did not want him to leave, because Laban knew the blessing would go with him.

God is in the business of building character

God Almighty is not only in the “business” of blessing and deliverance, but of building character. During these forty years of Jacob’s early life and growing his family, his attitude slowly changed, but it came only through much testing, trial, and submission to his deceiving father-in-law.

When the Lord told Jacob to return to the land of his father, he had a choice to make. He discussed it with his wives, who agreed, because they had seen how their father treated Jacob. However, to go back meant Jacob had to face up to his past and his own deceptive ways. He had to face his brother.

Listen to Jacob’s prayer:

“O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”    —Genesis 32:9-12

Blessings of increase are from God alone

Blessings of increase from El Shaddai alone

Jacob acknowledges his unworthiness because of his past behavior and that his increase is from God alone, that God’s Word is true. He still trusts God to confirm His covenant to him as He did for his forefathers. In faith, he takes that promise back to God, voicing it with the words of his mouth, “but you said.” Jacob is totally at the mercy of El Shaddai. With his large family, many young and older children, large herds and baby animals, he is afraid and helpless—much like a “cast” sheep. He is hemmed in on both sides—Esau out in front and Laban behind, both who have the ability and desire to do him great harm.

Jacob sleeps on it. The next morning, with God’s wisdom, Jacob gives of his increase to God, by setting aside a gift for Esau: “two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys” (Gen. 32: 14-15). He sends them ahead in separate groups to appease Esau, but also as restitution for what he had stolen.

That night Jacob helps his family cross a stream, sends them ahead and is left alone. The angel of the Lord, appearing as a man, wrestles with him all night. Jacob would not let him go at daybreak saying, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The angel asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.

Then the angel of the Lord said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Gen. 32:28 emphasis mine).

Being accountable in facing our past brings blessings

In the “valley of decision” (see Joel 3:14) where his Shepherd led him, Jacob wrestles with facing his past, finds healing and comes out a new man. He gains God’s forgiveness and encouragement, and is ready to start a whole new life. He is also left with a limp from his struggle that will always remind him of the time he asked for blessing from The Almighty and when he received it. At this time, he has eleven sons and Benjamin will be born “in the land” giving him twelve sons who will be the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jacob finds that God will fight his battles for him. Laban chased him for seven days, but before overtaking him, God spoke to him in a dream, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad” (Gen. 31:24). After Laban arrives, they strike an agreement not to do each other harm, and set up a heap of stones as a reminder. Laban kisses his daughters and grandchildren goodbye and blesses them. Jacob’s decision to take responsibility for his choices changed Laban’s attitude as well.

Next, Jacob meets up with Esau and his four hundred men. Jacob goes ahead of his family and bows down to the ground seven times with Esau in sight. But, Esau runs to meet Jacob and embraces him, throws his arms around him, kisses him, and they both weep. Jacob tells Esau, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably” (Gen. 33:10).

El Shaddai carried Jacob and his family as a father carries his son (see Deut. 1:31) back home across the Jordan River. Jacob found that underneath were the everlasting arms (see Deut. 33:27).

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you . . .” (Isaiah 66:13).

[1] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, p. 1782

[2] Ibid.

[3] Adam Clark, LL.D., F.S.A., & C., Clark’s Commentary Volume 1 – Genesis-Deuteronomy (Abington Press, New York., Nashville), p. 197.

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