‘Now the LORD had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”’ (Genesis 12:1-3)
The initiative comes from the LORD. He is the One who blesses those whom He chooses. Paul writes in Galatians 3:8: ‘And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.’
God blesses those to whom He gives faith (Ephesians 1:3; 2:8, 9) in His Son. Therefore every single believer is blessed of God, but what is His blessing?
Abram, renamed Abraham by God (Genesis 17:5), is known as the Father of Faith (Romans 4:11) for his trust in God and his obedience to Him. This same faith, trust and obedience in Christians brings blessings from God (Galatians 3:14). He gives them His favour [grace] and spiritual happiness; He makes them prosperous in the knowledge of Him (John 10:10), and He cares for their wellbeing (1 Peter 5:7), as they enjoy loving Him and worshipping Him (John 4:23, 24).
The Beatitudes [blessings] proclaimed by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-11 reveal the nature of those who receive them.
v 3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
Those who are ‘poor in spirit’ come to God recognising their need of Him and their spiritual wretchedness without His forgiveness. They repent (Matthew 4:17), and God welcomes them into His kingdom (Matthew 11:28).
v 4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’
Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 7:10 describes the condition of those who ‘mourn’ and are comforted. God responds to their sorrow and gives them life:‘For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.’ God gives them life.
v 5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’
The Greek word used here for ‘meek’ is interpreted, ‘humble or gentle’.
Jesus was both (Philippians 2:8). He invites the meek to embrace His yoke of gentleness (Matthew 11:29). Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23).
v 6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.’
Those who have it in their heart to seek the righteousness of God will find great satisfaction in Him. He will provide them with all they need (Genesis 22:14; Matthew 6:11).
v 7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’
Those who forgive will be forgiven by God who is merciful (Exodus 34:6). James, in 2:13 states that, ‘Mercy triumphs over judgment.’
v 8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’
The inward pursuit of purity in all matters, and a burning desire for being pure, will bring one face to face with the Lord – Revelation 22:4 ‘They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.’
v 9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.’
God is the God of peace (Hebrews 13:20; Romans 16:20) and those who practice and strive to bring about peace are like Him; hence they are called ‘sons of God’.
v 10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
These are courageous Christians who remain faithful when they are being opposed by the ungodly: they may be abused, bullied, beaten, tortured (2 Corinthians 11:23-25) and even martyred for their faith (Acts 7:59; 12:2).
James explains how such people are ultimately blessed:
‘My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (James 5:10, 11).’
The ‘blessed of God’ are those who receive His mercy and grace. They are loved by Him (John 16:37; 1 John 4:10, 16) and He gives them eternal life in His Son (John 11:25).
If you are not a Christian, take heart; repent and believe (Mark 1:15), and you will receive God’s blessings.