Thursday, February 10, 2005

How to Be Blessed On the Earth

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
  The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive,
  And he will be blessed on the earth.
(Psalm 41:1-2)
To be blessed means to have heaven on your side, the favor of God to go before you, and the power and goodness of God at work on your behalf. The Hebrew word for “poor” literally refers to one who is dangling. They may be poor in finances, in health, in relationships, in wisdom — any or all of these—and “hanging by a thread.” They are thin, weak, or in lack in some way, and they need help.

To consider is to think about something in a purposeful way, with intent to act. It means to guide with wisdom and prudence, to prosper. To consider the poor is not just about sympathizing with their situation, but about extending a hand, and even acting on their behalf. When we act on their behalf, we will find that God is likewise acting on ours.

When we open our heart towards the poor, the blessing of God comes upon us. It is not that God’s heart was closed toward us before, and now He has opened it because we have considered the poor. No, His heart has always been open toward us, only our heart was not open toward Him. But when we open our heart toward the poor, we are also opening our heart toward God — because His heart is to help the poor — and now His blessing is free to flow into our lives.

Notice that David, who penned this psalm, refers to the covenant name of God — Yahweh. This is indicated by the name “LORD,” rendered all in capital letters. Yahweh is the name by which God revealed Himself in covenant with people. It is extended to us in the name of Jesus, which in the Hebrew is Yeshua, a contraction of the name Yahweh, and yasha, a word signifying “salvation.”

The blood of Jesus is our eternal covenant with God. The essence of the covenant, in the Old and New Testaments, is that we belong to God, and He belongs to us. We act on His behalf, and He acts on ours. Notice how this plays out for the one who considers the poor:

“The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” The word for “deliver” literally means to be smooth. The LORD makes him smooth, to slip away and escape in the time of trouble.

“The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive.” To preserve means to hedge about on all sides, to watch over and protect.

“And he will be blessed on the earth.” The blessing is not for heaven, but from heaven. It is for here and now upon the earth. The blessing is the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven, for heaven is all about blessing. Being blessed on the earth is the joining together of heaven and earth.

There’s even more to the blessing, for the psalm continues:
You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.
The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed. (Psalm 41:2-3)
God will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. Here, the word “deliver” means to hand over. God will not hand him over to his enemies. No, God causes him to escape the enemy in safety. The will of God prevails over the will of the enemy.

“The LORD will strengthen him on his sickbed.” When he is infirm and on a bed of sickness, God will replace weakness with strength. He will sustain him on his sickbed. The word for “sustain” means to turn, overturn, overthrow. The KJV says, “Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.” The word “all” means all. This is total restoration and healing. The whole situation will be completely turned around.

Get to know the heart of the Father by spending time with Him in the Word, in worship, and in prayer. Let Him open up your heart toward the poor, to reach your hand toward them in practical ways. You will experience the flow of God’s love working in and through you, and all the favor of heaven will be released into your life. You will be blessed on the earth.