Sermon: “Blessed of the LORD” (Genesis 26:12–33)
When we hear God’s promises to bless his people, our minds tend to think of those blessings in one-dimensional terms. If we encounter comfort, peace, and prosperity, then we understand those experiences as blessings. On the other hand, if we encounter pain, trials, and hardship, then we view those as curses. In the life of the believer, we find God working in our lives through the good and the evil that we face. This does not mean that God does not make a distinction between good and evil. Furthermore, this does not mean that God is stingy in the blessings that he distributes to his people. On the contrary, God knows that he would do us eternal harm if we sent unhindered prosperity according to the kingdoms of this world, since our love for the pleasures of this world would choke out any true love for God and for his kingdom.
Instead, God blesses us by working out all things in this life together for the greatest possible good that we could receive (Rom. 8:28). This does not mean that everything we encounter will be good, considered in isolation. Rather, it means that, in the final analysis, we will recognize that God brings true, ultimate, eternal good in the way he weaves good and the bad experiences together. This principle provides us wisdom from God’s eternal vantage point to temper how we perceive each individual event in our lives. From this, we recognize that the good moments in life are not in themselves the best, eternal good that God is pursuing for us. This understanding keeps us from setting our hopes in the things of this world. Furthermore, we recognize in our suffering that God is still at work for our good, an encouragement that keeps us from despair. Through it all, we ultimately recognize that God is pursuing our good by pursuing a good that is bigger than us: the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Genesis 26:12–33 teaches us that God blesses his people by promoting his kingdom.