The Attributes of God

by Arthur W. Pink

The Blessings of God
 

"The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it" (Proverbs 10:22). Temporal blessing, as well as spiritual, comes from Him. "The Lord makes poor, and makes rich" (1 Sam. 2:7). God is the sovereign disposer of material wealth. If it is received by birth or inheritance—it is by His providence. If it comes by gift—He moved the donors to bestow. If it accumulates as the result of hard work, skill, or thrift—He bestowed the talent, directed its use, and granted the success. This is abundantly clear in the Scriptures. "The Lord has blessed my master greatly . . . he has given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold" (Gen. 24:35). "Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him" (Gen. 26:12). So it is with us. Then say not in your heart, "The might of my hand or brains has gotten me this temporal prosperity." "But you shall remember the Lord your God: for it is he who gives you power to get wealth" (Deut. 8:18). When riches are acquired by God's blessing by honest industry, there is no accusing conscience to sour the same. If sorrow attends the use or enjoyment of them, it is due entirely to our own folly.

"Blessed is the man whom you chose, and cause to approach unto you, that he may dwell in your courts" (Psalm 65:4). There is no doubt that the primary reference there (though not the exclusive one) is to "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5), for as God-man He is what He is by the grace of election, when His humanity was chosen and foreordained to union with one of the Persons in the Godhead. None other than Jehovah proclaimed Him, "my elect, in whom my soul delighted" (Isaiah 42:1). As such He is, "The man who is my fellow, says the Lord Almighty" (Zech. 13:7), the "heir of all things." Christ was not chosen for us, but for God; and we were chosen for Christ, to be His bride. "Christ is My first elect He said, then chose our souls in Christ the Head." The essence of all blessings is to be in Christ, and those who partake of it do so by the act of God, as the fruit of His everlasting love unto them.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight." (Eph. 1:3-4). In that initial blessing of election all others are wrapped up, and in due course we are partakers of them. It is both the duty and privilege of every sin-laden soul to come to Christ for rest; nevertheless it is equally true that no man can come to Him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). Likewise it falls upon all who hear the Gospel to respond to that call. "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live" (Isaiah 55:3), yet how can those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) do so? They cannot. They must first be divinely quickened into newness of life.

A beautiful figure of that divine operation is here before us. In eastern lands the earth is hard, dry, barren. So are our natural hearts. The dew descends from above silently, mysteriously, imperceptibly and moistens the ground, imparting vitality to vegetation, making the mountainside fruitful. Such is the miracle of the new birth. Life is communicated by divine fiat; not a probationary or conditional one, not a fleeting or temporal one, but spiritual and endless, for the stream of regeneration can never dry up. When God commands, He communicates (cf. Psalm 42:8; 48:28; 111:9). As the blessing is a divine favor, so the manner of bestowing it is sovereign. That is solely His prerogative, for man can do nothing but beg. Zion is the place of all spiritual blessings (Heb. 12:22-24).

"Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance" (Psalm 89:15). This is one of the blessed effects of Divine quickening. When one has been born of the Spirit, the eyes and ears of his soul are opened to recognize spiritual things. It is not merely that they "hear the joyful sound," for many do that without any experiential knowledge of its charm; but know from its message being brought home in power to their hearts. That joyful sound is the "glad tidings of good things" (Romans 10:15), namely, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Such souls as inwardly know that heavenly music are indeed blessed. As they are assured of free access unto God through the blood of Christ, the beneficent light of the divine countenance is now beheld by them. There is probably an allusion in Psalm 89:15, First to the sound made by Aaron as he went into the holy place and came out (Ex. 28:33-35), which was indeed a "joyful sound" unto the people of God. It gave evidence that their high priest was engaged before the Lord on their behalf. Second, a general reference to the sound of the sacred trumpets which called Israel to their solemn feasts (Num. 10:10). Third, a more specific one to the trumpet of jubilee (Lev. 25:9-10), which proclaimed liberty to bondmen and restoration of their inheritance to them who had forfeited it. So the announcement of the Gospel of liberty to sin's captives is music to those who have ears to hear.

"Blessed are all those who put their trust in him" (Psalm 2:12). The critical reader observes that we follow a strictly logical order. First, election is the foundation blessing, being "unto salvation" and including all the means thereof (2 Thess. 2:13); second, the bestowal of eternal life which capacitates the favored recipient to welcome experientially the joyful sound of the Gospel. Now there is a personal and saving embracing thereof. Note that the words of our present text are preceded by "Kiss the Son," which signifies, "Bow in submission before His scepter, yield to His Kingly rule, render allegiance to Him" (1 Sam. 10:1; 1 Kings 19:18). It is most important to note that order, and still more so to put it into practice. Christ must be received as Lord (Col. 2:6) before He can be received as Savior. Note the order in 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:18. The "put their trust in Him" signifies to take refuge in. They repudiate their own righteousness and evince their confidence in Him by committing themselves to His keeping for time and eternity. His Gospel is their warrant for doing so, His veracity their security.

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1). This is an intrinsic part of the blessedness of putting our trust in Him. The joyful sound has assured them that "Christ died for the ungodly," and that He will by no means cast out anyone who comes unto Him. Therefore do they express their faith in Christ by fleeing to Him for refuge. Blessed indeed are such, for, having surrendered to His lordship and placed their reliance in His atoning blood, they now enter into the benefits of His righteous and benevolent government. More specifically, their "iniquities are forgiven and their sins are covered"—"covered by God, as the ark was covered with the mercy-seat; as Noah was covered from the flood; as the Egyptians were covered by the depths of the sea. What a cover that must be which hides forever from the sight of the all-seeing God all the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit" (Charles Spurgeon). Paul quotes those precious words of Psalm 32:1 in Romans 4:7, as proof of the grand truth of justification by faith. While the sins of believers were all atoned for at the cross and an everlasting righteousness procured for them, they do not become actual participants until they believe (Acts 13:39; Gal. 2:16).

"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage" (Psalm 84:5). This is another accompaniment of the new birth. The regenerated receives the spirit of "a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7) so that he now sees himself to be not only without any righteousness of his own, but also is conscious of his weakness and insufficiency. He has made the name of the Lord his strong tower, having run into it for safety (Proverbs 18:10). Now he declares, "in the Lord I have righteousness and strength" (Isaiah 45:24), strength to fight the good fight of faith, to resist temptations, to endure persecution, to perform duty. While he keeps in his right mind, he will continue to go forth not in his own strength, but in complete dependence upon the strength in Christ Jesus. Those ways of God's strength are the divinely appointed means of grace to maintain communion: feeding on the Word, living on Christ, adhering to the path of His precepts.

"Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord; who walks in his ways" (Psalm 128:1). Here is another mark of those under divine benediction: to have such a deep reverence of the Spirit as results in regular obedience to Him. The fear of the Lord is a holy awe of His majesty, a filial dread of displeasing Him. It is not so much an emotional thing as practical, for it is idle to talk about fearing God if we have no deep concern for His will. It is the fear of love which shrinks from dishonoring Him, a dread of forgetting His goodness and abusing His mercy. Where such fear is, all other graces are found.




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