What is a legitimate basis for asking for God’s blessing?

Chris —  February 1, 2018 — 4 Comments

Psalm 67 describes the right sort of motivation for praying for God’s blessing.*

Nearly every week, I close our services at The Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley with a biblical benediction that is thousands of years old: “The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

I am sure many of you have received that same benediction. What a wonderful thing to think that God would make His face shine upon us. It seems like almost too much to expect. Is it okay to ask God to be with us and guide us in such an intimate way? How we can we legitimately ask God for such a wonderful blessing?

Psalm 67 answers the question. The Psalm begins with this same benediction asking that God would be gracious and bless us and make His face shine upon us. But, then the Psalm continues, “That your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”

According to the Psalmist, the legitimate reason for asking God to bless is that we might tell the whole world that God is great. The proper motivation for praying for the smile of God on our lives should be that we might proclaim Christ to all nations.

Many of us would agree that God has made His face shine upon you. If that is the case, then make let’s make sure we are doing all we can to make the name of Christ known throughout the whole earth. What can we do to tell people about the greatness of the Triune God across the street and around the world?

Now — for all of you, “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.”

*Revised from an earlier version.

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4 responses to What is a legitimate basis for asking for God’s blessing?

  1. Thanks Chris,

    I am greatly exercised by that word ‘blessing’. So often (maybe sub-consciously) we seem to confuse the means with the end. So often we interpret it selfishly: ‘Bless me in that interview, Lord…’ means ‘May I ace it and get that job, Lord.’ or ‘Bless my family, Lord…’ means ‘May we all have good health today…’

    But through Scripture and personal testimony I believe a blessing is whatever draws us nearer to God and results in us magnifying His Name.

    In that sense I have found adversity to be at least as much a blessing as prosperity. I have known both; I have experienced blessing on the mountain and in the valley; but it has been in the valley of adversity that I have been drawn more swiftly to the Lord and His Word. In that sense I have experienced a richer blessing in the valley.

    It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. – Psalm 119:71

    I guess it’s the same with other requests in our Christian walk. We must be careful when we ask God for things. I ask God to give me patience but am I prepared for the situation that might result in me exhausting my own supply of patience so that I might draw from the well of His?

    By careful, I don’t mean cautious in a way that would cause us to think to ourselves or say to others “Hey think twice before you ask for a blessing…cos it might sting!”; but rather, mindful that we don’t confuse the end with the means. As you helpfully said in your post, the ultimate end of a blessing is that God is magnified. And His children are never short changed whenever He is magnified!

    Thank you for that post.

  2. Thanks Ryan! Great thoughts.

  3. Hi Pastor Chris,
    I was born and raised in a reformed church where they read the law every Sunday and gave a benediction after the service. Yet everyone lived as they wanted to and no one in leadership did anything about it. They were saved by ‘grace’ after all and no body’s perfect. No real need for holy living. The web site explains it all.

    Jacob

  4. Jacob, great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by.

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