Every one of us who believes in God desires to receive God’s blessings, because God blessing a person represents that this person is approved by God and pleases God. Then, how can we receive God’s blessings? This is what we are all concerned with. We all know the Bible records that Noah and Abraham were blessed by God. So, what exactly did they do before gaining God’s blessings? Let us understand their experiences through studying the Bible and follow their examples.
Why did Noah gain God’s blessings?
The Bible records: “And God looked on the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way on the earth. And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch. … Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Genesis 6:12-14, 22).
From these scriptures, we can see at that time, before God destroyed the earth with the flood, He called upon Noah to build an ark and told him how to build it. Then Noah did as God said, following His instructions one by one. When the flood came, Noah and his seven family members entered the ark and survived. After the flood they lived in God’s blessings and enjoyed the grace that God bestowed. So, why did Noah gain God’s blessings? God’s words give us the answer. God says: “When Noah did as God instructed he didn’t know what God’s intentions were. He didn’t know what God wanted to accomplish. God had only given him a command, instructed him to do something, but without much explanation, and he went ahead and did it. He didn’t try to figure out God’s intentions in private, nor did he resist God or have a double heart. He just went and did it accordingly with a pure and simple heart. Whatever God let him do he did, and obeying and listening to God’s word were his conviction for doing things. That was how straightforwardly and simply he dealt with what God entrusted. His essence—the essence of his actions was obedience, not second-guessing, not resisting, and moreover, not thinking of his own personal interests and his gains and losses. Further, when God said He would destroy the world with a flood, he did not ask when or try to get to the bottom of it, and he certainly did not ask God just how He was going to destroy the world. He simply did as God instructed. However God wanted it to be made and made with what, he did exactly as God asked and also commenced action immediately thereafter.”
“To God, no matter whether a person is great or insignificant, as long as they can listen to Him, obey His instructions and what He entrusts, and can cooperate with His work, His will, and His plan, so that His will and His plan can be accomplished smoothly, then that conduct is worthy of His commemoration and worthy of receiving His blessing. God treasures such people, and He cherishes their actions and their love and affection for Him. This is God’s attitude. So why did God bless Noah? Because this is how God treats such actions and obedience of man.”
From God’s words, we can see: When God entrusted Noah to build an ark, although he had never seen an ark, and did not know how to build an ark, he did not ask why God let him do this. Instead, his only attitude was obedience to God. He acted based on God’s requirements, treated God’s commission as his responsibility and duty and completed it. Thus, he gained God’s blessings.
Why did Abraham gain God’s blessings?
We all know about Abraham’s story. When Abraham was a hundred years old, God bestowed upon him a son, Isaac, but when Isaac grew up, God asked Abraham to offer him up as a burnt offering. Most people find this demand of God to be very inconceivable and give excuses on Abraham’s behalf: Since God had given him a son, why then did God make him offer his son? And why did God give him a son in the first place? Then how did Abraham do with God’s demand? The Bible says, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:3). “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:9-10). When God’s trial came upon him, though he could not bear to part with his son and was distressed in his heart, he was very rational, he didn’t reason with God, instead, he submitted unconditionally to God and sincerely returned Isaac to God in accordance with God’s commands. Abraham’s obedience showed God his sincerity. Just as God’s words say, “When Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, were his actions seen by God? They were. The entire process—from the start, when God asked that Abraham sacrifice Isaac, to when Abraham actually raised his knife to slay his son—showed God the heart of Abraham, and regardless of his former foolishness, ignorance, and misunderstanding of God, at that time Abraham’s heart for God was true, and honest, and he truly was going to return Isaac, the son given to him by God, back to God. In him, God saw obedience—the very obedience that He desired.”
In the trial, Abraham chose to absolutely submit to God, because in his heart, obedience to God was above all, which was more important than Isaac. What God treasured most is people’s true heart and their obedience to Him. Therefore, because of his obedience to God, Abraham gained God’s blessings, his descendants being like the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore. Just as Genesis 22:16-18 says: “And said, By myself have I sworn, said Jehovah, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.”
How can we receive God’s blessings?
Through reading Noah and Abraham’s stories, we find they had one thing in common: They both listened to and obeyed God and they all followed God’s will. No matter what God said, even if they did not understand God’s will at that time, they were simple, sincerely believed in God, and acted according to God’s words without any hint of a transaction and demand. However, compared to them, although we also believe in God, we have impurities within us and we always make deals with God. I recalled that when God’s commission came upon me, what I considered first was my own benefits. I was unwilling to do duties that were not to my benefit, even if I did, I didn’t truly obey and didn’t have any consideration for God. I only did them with the intention of exchanging God’s blessings with my expending, such as a peaceful family, a prosperous career and the blessings to enter the heavenly kingdom. As a result, what I had done could hardly win God’s approval. Therefore, if we expect to live within God’s blessings, we should imitate Noah to obey God absolutely. There was also Abraham, who, when facing God’s trials and refinements, only sought to satisfy God’s will. So he was willing to offer up Isaac to God without other purposes and intentions. But when we are faced with trials, we always misunderstand God and complain against God. We are unable to truly obey God’s rule and arrangements, so we cannot gain God’s blessings.
Actually, it is not hard for us to live within God’s blessings because God’s requirements of us are not high. As long as we can understand God, believe in and obey God and fear God and shun evil, no matter what befall us, be it God’s commission, trial or test, we will gain God’s blessings like Noah and Abraham did. Just as God’s words say, “Those who fear God and shun evil, those who truly follow God, listen to Him and are loyal to Him, and those who obey Him—these are the people who will often receive God’s blessings, and God will bestow such blessings without reservation. Moreover, the blessings people receive from God are often beyond their imagination, and also beyond anything human beings can exchange for what they have done or the price they have paid.”
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