Thursday, December 9, 2004

The Flow of Favor and Prosperity

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;
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 41:1-3)
This is a wisdom psalm that tells you how to be blessed. Wisdom invariably leads you down the path of blessing.

Who is the person being blessed here? The one who considers the poor. The poor are those who are helpless, powerless. To consider them means to act prosperously toward them, to cause them to prosper, to give guidance and direction, to instruct in wisdom.

The way to blessing is all one — it all flows in one direction — but there are many facets to it. In Psalm 1, the blessed man is the one who continually meditates on the Word of God. He is the same man who will seek to prosper the helpless, because that is what he finds in his meditation on the Word. Because he opens his heart to bless others, he comes to a richer understanding and fellowship with the LORD of all blessing. He not only receives the blessing, he understands the heart of blessing, and so he knows how to walk in it day by day.

Now, to be blessed is to be made prosperous with the prosperity of heaven. It is the grace and favor of God—all the power of heaven extended on your behalf. It is sowing and reaping, as we see demonstrated here. Sow prosperity into the lives of others, and you will reap prosperity in your own life. It is the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven.

Note how David details the blessing in this instance:
  • Deliverance in time of trouble. Rescued, released into freedom.
  • Preserved and kept alive. Guarded, protected, hedged about on all sides.
  • Blessed on the earth. The favor and prosperity of God manifest in this life.
  • Kept from the will of his enemies. God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5).
  • Strengthened on his bed of illness. Encouraged, refreshed, stabilized in time of illness.
  • Sustained on his sickbed. Restored to health by the power of God.
Bless the poor and God will bless you. Show favor to the poor and God will show favor to you. Prosper the poor and God will prosper you. The blessing is not static, it is a flow that keeps refreshing and giving life. So live with an open heart and an open hand, which are thus able to both give and receive. The blessing of God is a river — let it flow.

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