Embracing Grace: Abundance and the Contented Heart

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 87

Scripture: Genesis 27:27-29; Deuteronomy 30:5-10, 19-20; 1 Timothy 6:3-7; Proverbs 20:15, 24:1-6; Psalm 37:16-19, 52:7-8, 17:14-15, 49:20; 1 Samuel 18:30;  Isaiah 55:2-3; Ezekiel 28:15-17a.  

Photo courtey of Bobby Mikul. Public Domain.

The ancient Israelites understood the power of the spoken word and exemplified it in the father’s blessing. This blessing was spoken over the eldest son in the last days of his father’s life and preceded inheriting all that his father had accumulated on earth. But it was so much more than words. Take a look at the blessing Isaac spoke over Jacob, whom he mistakenly believed to be Esau:

“So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, ‘See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed;  Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine; may peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.’” 1

Isaac fulfilled the words of this blessing in his lifetime, and it was not just because his father said some ritual over the boy but because he gave to him the blessing of God: “Now may God give you…”

Photo courtesy of San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau. Public Domain.

In one sense, the blessing spoken over an eldest son before giving him his inheritance reflected the blessing Moses spoke over the Hebrew peoples when they were about to enter the land promised by God.

Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today. The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”2

Photo courtesy of U.S.D.A. photographer, Bruce Fritz. Public Domain.

These words precede the famous passage where God speaks through Moses, saying that He has placed before them both life and death and to choose life, that it may go well with them and their sons and daughters.

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” 3

Now I know this is another “mathematical” equation, but I can’t help it. It just makes sense. This is the key to full abundance in the true knowledge of God:

Love the Lord + Obey His voice + Cling to Him = Life + Length of Days

You cannot experience life in its fullness apart from God. This is far more than mere prosperity. In fact, the Prosperity Gospel has gotten it all wrong. And apparently, this false teaching also plagued the early church. Take a look at this in 1Timothy:

Common Raven (Corvus corax) in Bryce Canyon National Park, USA. Image courtesy of United States National Park Service. Public Domain.

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 4

Some people take this verse to mean that poverty is equated to holiness, and if you have (something that they do not have) you should give it to them. If you do not, then you are walking in greed. Do you see how convoluted such evil thinking is? Its entire purpose is to lay condemnation on the righteous to remove our freedom in Christ! That is not the point of these verses at all. The writer was saying that, in whatever state we are called, to be content, whether freed man or slave.

Photo courtesy of Yana Ray. Public Domain.

Solomon’s wisdom exceeded all others upon the face of the earth. God blessed him richly with earthly abundance because he asked for wisdom over wealth. He understood this principle from his heart.

“There is gold, and a multitude of pearls, but the lips of knowledge are a vase of preciousness [the most precious of all].” 5

Solomon equated men who trust in their riches, rather than in God, with evil. He understood that wisdom is found only in God, and that through wisdom and true knowledge man finds earthly increase:

“BE NOT envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; for their minds plot oppression and devise violence, and their lips talk of causing trouble and vexation. Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man, and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power; for by wise counsel you can wage your war, and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety.” 6

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

David, who spent many years in lack and running for his life, understood that abundance was more than just things.

“A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”7

It is easy for us, separated by the passage of centuries, to forget that David was anointed King over Israel many years before he was crowned king and walked in physical abundance.

“‘Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.” But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.’” 8

Photo courtesy of Helen Bascom. Public Domain.

King David understood that God rains down on the just and the unjust, and that those whose portion rests only in the world do not live the better life. He recognized that the pursuit of anything apart from holiness to God was but a shadow of true abundance. He experienced the heavenly bread that Jesus spoke of.

“From men by Your hand, O Lord, from men of this world [these poor moths of the night] whose portion in life is idle and vain. Their bellies are filled with Your hidden treasure [what You have stored up]; their children are satiated, and they leave the rest [of their] wealth to their babes. As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You].”9

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain

“Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish.”10

When I read pomp, what pops into my mind is someone who is a frivolous fop or gentleman dandy. Maybe this is exactly what it means. The Hebrew word for pomp here is yĕqar, יקר [Strong’s H3366], and refers to “price, value, preciousness, honor, splendor.”11 It comes from the verb yaqar, which refers to something esteemed, prized, costly, or valuable.12

Of pomp, my dictionary states that it is a “stately or splendid display,” an “ostentatious or vain display, especially of dignity or importance.”13 The word was used in church Latin in “a depreciatory sense for ‘worldly display, vain show.’”14

Notice the next phrase, yet without understanding. Even while still a young man, David understood that wealth without wisdom is wasted on empty pursuits. He was known for his wise behavior long before God exalted him and bestowed physical blessings on him.

“Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name as highly esteemed.”15

The Hebrew word for esteemed here is the same root of the above word, pomp, and means something that is highly esteemed or prized, valued, precious.

John 3:16. Photo courtesy of Kevin Gardner.

Isaiah wrote these words of God, in which He reiterates what God spoke through Moses back in Deuteronomy 30 and which looked forward to the everlasting covenant:

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.”16

I believe the reason why God distinguishes between looking to things alone versus looking to Him as our source is because this is what caused Satan to lose his position as a covering angel and his place in heaven. Satan was the original fop: 

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity and guilt were found in you. Through the abundance of your commerce you were filled with lawlessness and violence, and you sinned; therefore I cast you out as a profane thing from the mountain of God and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud and lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.”17

 

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

Wow.

See how everything leads back to and is tied up in the heart?

Satan takes everything good and perfect which comes from God, and tries to twist it, to pervert it, so as to get our focus off God. My task, therefore, is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith.

I see why it is so important to pursue true knowledge in God from the heart, looking to Him to supply all my need. Jesus told us to look at the birds, how the Lord provides for them and knows when each one falls. Will He not much more provide for me? He numbers the hairs upon my head which are constantly changing.

I know that the Lord loves me and will provide everything I need for life and godliness, for godliness with contentment is of great gain.

Read:  Genesis 27:27-29; Deuteronomy 30:5-10, 19-20; 1 Timothy 6:3-7; Proverbs 20:15, 24:1-6; Psalm 37:16-19, 52:7-8, 17:14-15, 49:20; 1 Samuel 18:30;  Isaiah 55:2-3;  Ezekiel 28:15-17a. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, You alone dwell in splendor, yet Your love for me is so great You gave Your only Son so that I could live. Thank you, Sir. Thank you for Your many, many physical blessings and for giving to me a godly heritage. Thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to fill me, to enable me to walk in godliness before you. Come, fill me anew, for Jesus’ sake, and for the kingdom’s, amen.

_____________________

1 Genesis 27:27-29. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2 Deuteronomy 30:5-10. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
3 Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
4 1 Timothy 6:3-7. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
5 Proverbs 20:15. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
6 Proverbs 24:1-6. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
7 Psalm 37:16-19. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
8 Psalm 52:7-8. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
9 Psalm 17:14-15. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
10 Psalm 49:20. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
11 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for yĕqar (Strong’s 3366)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 22 Jun 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3366&t=NASB
12 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for yaqar (Strong’s 3365)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 22 Jun 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3365&t=NASB
13 pomp. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pomp (accessed: June 22, 2011).
14 pomp. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pomp (accessed: June 22, 2011).
15 1 Samuel 18:30. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
16 Isaiah 55:2-3. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
17 Ezekiel 28:15-17a. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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