Week 2, Day 4: Blessings

It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap.

- Chance the Rapper

READ: GENESIS 41:1-49

Joseph spent thirteen long years enslaved and imprisoned. The man who emerged from prison was not the boy who entered it. As a teenager, he boasted about his visions of grandeur and basked in his father’s favoritism. As a man, presented with the opportunity to address Pharaoh’s problem and take credit as an interpreter of dreams, he said, “I can’t do it, but God can” (Genesis 41:16). His time in prison had provided plenty of opportunity to reflect on his life and on what God had been doing in him and through him. 

None of us is self-made. Not one of us has gotten where we are without some help from someone else, whether that was a parent, a sibling, a mentor, or a friend. Whether it was financial help or good advice or prayer support or simply believing in us, we have all benefited from the investment of others in our lives. But it is far too easy to forget the impact of the blessings we have experienced and to focus simply on the difficult times or on the things we lack. 

Blessings are the things we benefit from, which we had no part in bringing about. Hundreds of years after Joseph, in Deuteronomy 8:11-18, Moses would give this reminder to the people of Israel, who finally were about to enter the Promised Land:

But watch yourself! Don’t forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commands or his case laws or his regulations that I am commanding you right now. When you eat, get full, build nice houses, and settle down, and when your herds and your flocks are growing large, your silver and gold are multiplying, and everything you have is thriving, don’t become arrogant, forgetting the LORD your God: the one who rescued you from Egypt, from the house of slavery; the one who led you through this vast and terrifying desert of poisonous snakes and scorpions, of cracked ground with no water; the one who made water flow for you out of a hard rock; the one who fed you manna in the wilderness, which your ancestors had never experienced, in order to humble and test you, but in order to do good to you in the end.

Don’t think to yourself, My own strength and abilities have produced all this prosperity for me. Remember the LORD your God! He’s the one who gives you the strength to be prosperous in order to establish the covenant he made with your ancestors—and that’s how things stand right now.

Moses wanted to make sure the people acknowledged the blessings they had received and never lost sight that, as it says in James 1:17, “Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above.”

Eugene Peterson, in The Message, translates Deuteronomy 8:14 this way: “Make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God.” Sometimes it’s not that we have not experienced blessing in our lives, but that we haven’t taken the time to notice them, give thanks for them, and use them to bless others.

REFLECT & RESPOND

  • Head: What would you highlight as the most significant blessings you’ve experienced?

  • Heart: What difference does it make that you could not have ended up where you are without the help and support and encouragement of others?

  • Hands: Think of one way you can thank someone who blessed you, and one way you can use the blessings you’ve received to bless someone else.

PRAY

God, thank you for the ways you have blessed me. Help me to be a good steward of the blessings you have given, blessing others as you have blessed me. Amen.

Blessings are the things

we benefit from, which we had

no part in bringing about.

© 2020 by Justin B. Fung

Christ City Church, Washington, D.C.