The "Unexpected" Blessing of God
Tidying Up From Genesis 45-47
We Attribute Our Blessings to Earth Rather Than Heaven
Exodus 15:23–25; 17:1–7; Numbers 20:7–11; Deuteronomy 8:15; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 78:16; 105:41; Isaiah 48:21
Preaching Themes: Blessing and Cursing, God: Mercy, God: Providence
When Israel received water out of the rock it was not bitter, but at Marah the water came out of the sand. To this day in the desert water is found in different places, but where it oozes up from a sandy bed it is almost without exception so brackish and bitter, by reason of the sand, that it is not fit for human drinking; and even the camels, unless they are sore pressed, turn away from it with great aversion. The sand has tainted it; the flavor of earth has got into the blessing.
So it is with most of our blessings. By reason of our sin and infirmity, too much of the flavor of earth enters into the gift of heaven. Our common mercies, when we receive them direct from heaven as God gives them, are mercies indeed—cool, flowing streams that gush from the rock of his favor. But we are so apt to trace them to the creature, so ready to look on them as derived from earth instead of coming from heaven—and just in that proportion may we expect to find bitterness in them.
A Burial Promise - Genesis 47:29-31
An Expanded Blessing - Genesis 48:1-7
A Switched Blessing - Genesis 48:8-16
When God blesses, it is not an impotent wish but the empowering and transforming word that accomplishes its purpose. To pronounce a blessing carries a sense of inevitability such that, once it has been uttered, it cannot be retracted (Gen 27:38). However, the OT does not portray a blessing as magical, but as a prayer offered to a sovereign God.