God Almighty gives two very important conditions to being blessed in Genesis, chapter 17:1-2: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
TRUST: first of two conditions to be blessed
“I am God Almighty, walk before me” (Gen. 17:1 emphasis added). The Amplified version says, “. . . live habitually before Me.”
The bottom line of walking before the Lord means trusting in Him. Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (emphasis added). (See also Prov. 16:20; Ps. 84:12). The psalmist also says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways” (Ps. 128:1 emphasis added). If we are following Jesus as our Shepherd, we are walking before him—in His presence. Walking blameless adds another dimension.
BE BLAMELESS: second of two conditions to be blessed
“. . . and be blameless” (Gen. 17:1)
The Hebrew word for blameless is Tâmîym: the divine standard for man to obtain. It means “entire (literally, figuratively, or morally) whole, complete . . . upright in one’s conduct, especially toward God, innocent, simple, honest, sincere, secure, integrity.” The Amplified Bible gives an interesting amplification: blameless, whole-hearted, complete. Remember Joshua and Caleb, who followed the Lord whole-heartedly, were the only ones left of the original generation coming out of Egypt and are now leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. It all comes down to facing our life honestly before the Lord one day at a time.
The psalmist again gives a great summary of what it takes to be a blessed child of God: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart” (Ps. 119:1).
God’s Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways
God’s ways are higher than our ways, therefore, we may see times when His blessings of health or family are taken away, and we cannot figure out why. We see ourselves as blameless and completely trusting in the Lord. Chapter 14 of this book examines this life situation in detail.
As important as these two conditions are to being blessed, there is another condition that we absolutely cannot ignore! And, it’s the very first condition God laid down. When the Lord called Abram to leave his father’s household and go to the land that He would show him, He finished His blessing to Abram with these words: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3).
We know God is referring to “Israel,” the nation of the Jewish people, Abraham’s descendants through Isaac—the child of a promise fulfilled—and Jacob whose name is changed to “Israel.”
WHO SHALL RECEIVE THESE BLESSINGS?
“. . . between me and you” (Gen. 17:2)
God is talking directly to Abraham, of course, and the me here is El Shaddai. He is also talking directly to you and me. Galatians 3:29 tells us so, “And if you belong to Christ (are in Him, Who is Abraham’s Seed), then you are Abraham’s offspring and (spiritual) heirs according to promise” (Amplified). We are Abraham’s spiritual offspring because we belong to Christ and are a child of the only One and True God. These promises and every promise in the whole Bible belong to us, and have already been given to us.
The Prayer of Jabez
These blessings come only to those who dare to look for and receive what the Almighty has given, men like Jabez who cried out to God, “‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request” (1 Chron. 4:10).
Bruce Wilkinson, in his book, The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, says, “I’ve met so many Christians who think that such an idea is wrong. They assume that they’ll seem greedy or immature if they ask God for too many blessings. But that’s not what Jabez believed. Somewhere in his bones he knew something that most of us miss. He was convinced that God loved him and wanted to really bless him and that He could because He had unlimited power and resources. That kind of trust in his heavenly Father made it natural for Jabez to pray exactly the kind of request God wants to hear.”
R – Receiving from the Word – Confessing the Word and Living the Word
We can receive answers to prayer through believing, expecting and then asking through Scripture. The “R” of our faith-bear is reserved for the critical battles–Receiving with a capital “R”. It requires a more disciplined knowledge of faith to overcome the most trying circumstances. Therefore, it is wise to choose our battles carefully, and know what is truly important and worth fighting for.
Without the “R” there might be no answer to prayer. We could pray, believe, expect, and ask, but unless we are willing to receive, there could be no victory. This is where many Christians miss out on the joy of their salvation, because this is the hardest part.
Receiving from the Lord involves two aspects: a deeper knowledge of what faith is and how it works with words of praise with positive actions. Receiving from the Lord requires us to understand “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20 KJV).
The mature Christian knows that “works” are tied to our words, because positive words spring forth positive actions based on what we believe from the Word.
Receiving has to do with what we Believe and Speak
One thing Jesus said about believing is puzzling: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). We all want to receive, but what does it mean, to “believe that you receive?” The verse previous to this one gives us our first clue: “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” So, we know receiving has to do with what we truly believe and, therefore, speak.
Our next clue is found in 1 John 5:14-15. This Amplified translation says it plainly: know that God has “granted us as our present possessions the requests made of Him” when it’s in agreement with His plans for us. This is what faith is, and what the B-E-A-R Facts of Faith are all about. Faith is further defined in Hebrews:
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and conviction of their reality-faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. Hebrews 11:1 AMP
By faith, we already have the title-deed to what we have requested from the Lord. Faith is “perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”11 If we can claim for ourselves what we want to see happen, knowing God has already granted (past tense) what we have asked for as our present possessions, then would we not have already received? Almost, but not quite. With this knowledge, our words are still the key.
Hosea tells us, “Take words with you and return to the Lord” (Hosea 14:2). Then, God says, “I will create the fruit of the lips”12–what our words say. The Amplified translation explains how God uses His own faith-filled words: “God . . . who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed” (Rom. 4:17). So, does not our creative power with God lie in speaking of the nonexistent things as if they already existed and then acting that way?
Jehoshaphat and his people had to put the R on B-E-A-. Early the next morning after they sought the Lord, Jehoshaphat spoke words that perceived as real fact what was not yet revealed to his senses. He told them, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld . . . .” 2 Chron. 20:20).
Because of what he believed, expected and asked of God, he appointed singers to praise the Lord as they went out at the head of the army–a work of faith. His actions were bold. Though still fearful, the people began to sing and praise (a positive action). The Lord sent ambushes against their enemies; no one escaped. Most were destroyed by each other.
Praise puts the R on B-E-A-. When we praise the Lord, no matter how we feel, we are receiving the past tense of what God said He would do. In different words, praise claims our requests. Until we have a thankful heart toward God, we will never receive His best. Without the R, there is no enduring faith, and without faith, we cannot please God-there is no “mama bear” who is caring and fighting for her cubs. With God-given faith we have His knowledge that brings light in all situations. Without God-given faith, we are blind.
Children not Covered by Godly Parents Receiving forThem are Open to Evil
Kim’s mother was a spiritually blind woman who chose to be that way. Her Christian relatives witnessed to her, but she chose darkness instead. Her destructive words devastated Kim. She spent the rest of her life fighting influences from evil spirits. Young Kim believed everything her mother taught her. As an adult, she finally came to see why the occult–divination, sorcery, interpreting omens, casting spells, consulting mediums for guidance–is detestable to God (see Deut. 18:10-12). It deceives the person into thinking he or she is in control and keeps that person from looking to God–to hear His voice from His Word and to learn His plan for his or her life.
The devil is after our children! With an ungodly mother spouting careless, loveless words, he will get them. Kim’s mother’s words turned her over to evil influences. One of the paranormal games Kim’s family played involved a coffee table. The object was to witness paranormal power derived from (evil) spirits. The game worked only when Kim, as a child, was in the room. One time the table literally walked on two legs, chasing her out. She had visions of people from the past; before someone could finish a question, she could answer it. The enemy was so far into Kim’s head, in imaginings and falsehoods that it took her years to get out of it.
Children not covered with God’s Word by a Godly mother B-E-A-R fighting and receiving for them are open to evil people. They become open target! Not only was Kim raped when she was nine, but while growing up, she was repeatedly molested by strangers. When she was about eleven years old, while riding on a cable car in San Francisco, a man in his sixties inappropriately touched her. Her dad was standing beside her and did nothing-blinded to everything. As soon as the man left, Kim sat down in front of her dad, terrified, too ashamed and embarrassed to say anything. This happened in grocery stores and on streets, until one day, she came to the point of knowing she had the power to say, “No!”
A few years before she accepted Christ, twenty-six year old Kim bent over the meat counter. Her three-year old daughter was sitting beside her in the grocery cart. Once again, a strange man approached her. She stepped back and jabbed him in the ribs, demanding, “Get your hands off of me!” Kim was just starting to realize she could make a choice and not allow evil to control her life.
Have we given our children back to God as Abraham did–knowing our own physical presence and ability cannot protect them? Everything we think we own came from God, and must be given back to Him. He always blesses us when we are obedient to Him.
If this story about Kim as a child does not help us visualize what praying God’s Word over our children does, nothing will. God loves them so much more than we possibly can, but He will not override the choices we make from our heart, that are evidenced by our words.
His Word, spoken through us, puts an invisible “shield”13 (see 2 Sam. 22:31) around our children, and opens our eyes as parents to be wise in our behavior and words toward them.
Imagine What Receiving Can Look Like
Imagine for our children the opposite of what happened to Kim–God’s spoken Word bringing light to the mind of a struggling child of any age (see Prov. 16:24). Imagine God giving visions and dreams of wisdom or the future to your child; imagine them hearing His voice (see Joel 2:28-29).14 His Word holds the victory to those who are faithful day by day. He commands His angels to guard our children in all their ways (see Ps. 91:11). When we are faithful, keeping our eyes on Jesus the Word, we have no need to fear–ever!
Sally Jadlow is a faithful “Grandma B-E-A-R.” She reads her Bible and claims the Scripture every day for her family, city, and nation. She thought about her prayer the morning when she received a phone call that her five-year old grandson had been run over by a car driven by a fifteen-year-old boy. When Sally arrived at the hospital, the only visible sign from the accident were tire marks from the child’s left hip to his right shoulder-no broken bones. He said, “Two tires ran over me, Grandma.”
The child’s mother, who witnessed her son’s limp body being thrown from behind the car, saw a stranger kneeling beside the boy as medics worked on him. As he cried out in pain, the stranger prayed all the louder. When the Life-Flight helicopter took off, the mother turned to thank the man wearing the baseball cap, but he was gone. Miraculously, there were no internal injuries and within four days, Sally’s grandson was running in the yard. (15 Sonflower Seeds book)
Two Sides of Faith – the Soft Side and the Hard Side
There are two sides to the prayer of faith: the soft, cuddly-bear side and the hard, authoritative, commanding, fighting-mama bear side. Just like faith and fear are two sides of the same coin, so are the soft and hard B-E-A-R sides of prayer–flipped as needed.
The soft side is the calm side, though not necessarily easy: believing, expecting, asking and receiving from the Word in quiet trust (see Isa. 30:15).
The hard side comes when we see our naive and innocent child assaulted by the enemy, not resisting, not fighting, not aware, and we have to face our fears and fight for them. As a mama bear swats anyone who bothers her cubs, we must also fight for our children and family.
Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matt. 11:12). Psalm 75:10 talks about the wicked and the righteous having horns to fight with, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.” Another translation gives a different insight: “‘I will cut off the strength of evil men,’ says the Lord, ‘and increase the power of good men in their place”‘ (TLB). Wow, what a promise!
The power of our words will be increased when we take our fighting stand. Will we believe it, expect it, ask for it, and receive it with our words?
A true story is told of a son who ran away and did not return for years. One day, his father pulled to the side of the road, got out and hollered his son’s name as loud as he could to the north, south, east and west; then, “Come home!” In a couple days, the son was home. When the son was asked what brought him home, he said, “I thought I could hear you calling my name.”
Our Mama and Papa B-E-A-R word-weapon is stronger and more far reaching than any bear claw. “For the word of the Lord is living and active, Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Two unnamed mothers directed Scripture into the spirits of their children (a great distance away) who were in crisis mode. The mothers spoke, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought [of our child] to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) Although that adult son and daughter did not know how desperate their situation was, within days, each realized their danger because of a dream in the night, and a sudden shift in circumstances. They saw the light.
Awaken, fighting bears! Hibernation is over and will never come again. Fight for your cubs! Fight for your family! Let every creature know you mean business. Become that hard fighting B-E-A-R.
See Hebrews 11:1 Amplified.
See Isaiah 57:19 KJV.
There are over fifty Scriptures that tell us God is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Genesis 18:17 tells of the Lord confiding in his friend, Abraham, what He was about to do. See also Joel 2:28-29, “Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
Sally Jadlow, “Gunnar’s Story (A Modern-Day Miracle),” Sonflower Seeds,(Sonflower Press, Overland Park, KS, 2001), p. 125.