“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving Day was only a week ago. You’d never know it from all the Christmas decorations already put up. But just last week, many Americans were celebrating this national holiday set aside since 1789 to give thanks and honor to our Lord God for His many blessings. We thank Him for our families, our finances, our health, and much more. Yet, some people still struggle to see how the Father blesses them.
How can we know that we have God’s blessing? What are we missing that keeps us from fully believing in God’s love and compassion for us?
The story of Jacob in the book of Genesis is a great example of someone wrestling with unbelief. He too struggled to fully believe he was blessed. Through his story, we can learn more about the incredible depth and width of God’s love.
In Genesis 25:24, Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, gave birth to twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Esau was a stereotypical man’s man—skillful hunter, hard-working farmer, adventurous, and brave. Like many twins (including mine), Jacob was the opposite—mild-mannered, nature-loving, granola-eating, probably spent hours bird watching, etc.
Jacob’s issues were all rooted in his parents. See, their problem was they picked favorites. Rebekah loved Jacob best because of his easy-going nature, and Isaac loved Esau best because of his great skill and courage. Any family therapist would tell you this is a big, giant no-no.
As a mom, I believe nothing can ever compare to the love I have for my boys. Seriously, only God loves them more than me. Still, I know boys need to know their father loves and accepts them unconditionally. Without that acceptance, boys commonly wrestle with insecurity the rest of their lives.
Such was the case with Jacob. He constantly sought Isaac’s acceptance, but it seems he believed that since he was the second born son, he would never receive his father’s blessing.
So, Jacob schemed to get it.
Jacob was so jealous of Esau and so insecure of Isaac’s love, that Jacob was willing to perform some rather unethical, or even immoral, tricks to gain some family prominence.
First, Jacob talks Esau out of his birthright. The birthright was a double portion of the father’s inheritance and the right to be the family chief and priest. Jacob knew Esau didn’t care whether he got the inheritance or not since he was uninterested in religious matters (so much so that the writer of Hebrews calls Esau a “profane person” in Hebrews 12:16).
The twins apparently had talked about it a few times already when Jacob outright told Esau to sell his birthright to him in exchange for a bowl of soup. It didn’t take much convincing. Esau didn’t hesitate, and in the blink of an eye Jacob gained control of it all without their father’s knowledge.
But Jacob didn’t stop there.
Sometime later, Isaac became very sick and near death. His eyesight was gone, and he was losing his hearing. Naturally, he called Esau to his bedside so he could bless his oldest son and appoint him the family leader before he died.
Their mother, Rebekah—who was also Isaac’s wife I remind you—instructed her beloved boy, Jacob, to pretend to be Esau so that he would receive the blessing. She was so conniving, and Jacob was so willing to go along with the ploy, that Jacob went to Isaac bearing food to eat while wearing freshly killed goat skin on his hands and neck (that part makes me cringe a little) because Esau was evidently pretty hairy.
Their trick worked. Jacob received the blessing meant for Esau and all was well…until Esau arrived. Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” and Esau replied, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” (Genesis 27:32)
And, that’s when the cat was let out of the bag, so to speak.
Isaac quickly realized that Jacob had tricked him and Esau, who broke down into huge, panic-filled tears and begged his father for his blessing.
“But [Isaac] said, ‘Your brother came with deceit, and has taken away your blessing.’
“[Esau] said, ‘Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright. See, now he has taken away my blessing. Haven’t you reserved a blessing for me?’
“Isaac answered Esau, ‘Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants. I have sustained him with grain and new wine. What then will I do for you, my son?’
“Esau said to his father, ‘Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, my father.’ Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
“Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him. Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then I will kill my brother Jacob.’” Genesis 27;35-38, 41 WEB
Rebekah never admits her part in the scheme nor seems to understand how wrong it was, but she warns Jacob about Esau’s anger, and Jacob runs away to live with his Uncle Laban.
It was at least another twenty years before the twins saw each other again. During that time, Jacob got a taste of his own medicine. He was greatly mistreated by his uncle, both physically and financially.
Eventually, Jacob realized how evil he was to Esau, so he sent messengers asking to see him.
Esau’s reaction was completely unexpected. Jacob thought Esau would still be enraged with him. Instead, Genesis 32:4 says, “Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”
All was forgiven, all wrong was made right, and God was pleased.
What Jacob Missed
For years, Jacob failed to see what so many of us fail to see—that we are already blessed. But, Jacob was so convinced that he wasn’t blessed, that he wasn’t loved, that he was willing to do whatever was necessary to get it. Thankfully, he finally figured out that he always had his father’s blessing as well as blessings from God.
Jacob teaches us that we don’t need to persuade or trick God to bless us. His blessing has been there from the beginning, right in the Garden of Eden when He made man and woman and gave them everything they needed (Genesis 3). And, since God is constant and unchanging (Malachi 3:6), so is His blessing.
God’s love has always been with us.
We read repeatedly throughout the Bible of God’s promises of…
- Safety and protection
- Victory over every circumstance
- Unconditional grace
- And much more!
God has promised through His honorable word to give us all this, yet we still can’t seem to feel blessed. Why?
Maybe it seems too good to be true. Maybe we feel undeserving. Or, maybe life hasn’t always been kind to us, so we feel unloved.
Dear friend, don’t ever listen to Satan’s lies. Don’t ever let him convince you that you are not loved, that you’re not blessed, and that you’re not worthy of anything God would offer you. I’m here to tell you…
Yes, you are!!
How do I know? Because of one simple thing—Jesus.
Jesus Our Blessing
Jesus alone is the explanation of why you are blessed. He stepped out of heaven, away from His holy throne, to take on the body of a man that would be brutally tortured, crucified, and ruthlessly nailed to a cross. It was all planned centuries ago, and He did it willingly. He did it just for you. You! To give you hope, to restore your joy, and to give you a new life, one based in Him and His righteousness.
Who else do you know would willingly endure torture and death just to save your life? What father would allow his son to do that for you? What king would leave his throne to give you victory over sin and death so you can enjoy eternal life in heaven? There is only one, and His name is Jesus.
If you’re not feeling very blessed these days, lift your eyes to heaven and remember God’s great love for you. It’s beyond measure, and He gladly gives it to you. All you have to do is receive His gift of grace and blessing. It’s there for the taking.
How do you do that?
Just believe in your heart that Jesus is the promised Messiah who came to redeem His children by dying on a cross and conquering death three days later. Then, ask Jesus for forgiveness, confess your belief to someone, and believe that His love is with you forever (Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32).
Trust me, that feeling of grace that washes over you when you invite Jesus into your heart is the greatest blessing of all.
Four Ways to Count Your Blessings
Still not sure how much you’re blessed? Take a look around you. Look at the little things and not just the big things. Then, try one of these ideas to help you remember.
A Simple List
Some people find it helpful to visualize God’s work in their lives, so you might consider making a list of your blessings. Take a sheet of paper and number it one to twenty (just to get started). See if you can fill all twenty lines. Post your list somewhere to help remind you of His love and add more lines every time you discover how God has blessed you.
Don’t want to post a list for everyone to see? You might consider keeping a daily gratitude journal where you write down God’s blessings as they happen. If you’re diligent, you’ll start running out of pages before you know it.
Set up an old glass jar somewhere with small strips of paper and a pen next to it so you can write down your blessings and put them in the jar. You’ll soon see how full the jar gets. Occasionally read what you wrote down to remind yourself of your blessings.
The Thankfulness Tree
This is a great idea if you have kids, but, really, anyone can do it. And, you don’t have to do it at Thanksgiving time. Any time of the year is fine.
Just get a large sheet of poster or foam board and draw a tree on it. Color it however you like (kids love that part). Cut out a set of 31 different colored construction paper leaves (one for each day of the month) per person and leave them in a pile near the tree with a pencil, pen, crayon, or marker.
Each person writes down a blessing or something they are thankful for each day and attaches it to the tree wherever they want. By the end of the month, your tree will be full of gorgeous leaves covered in the evidence of God’s love.
Call everyone together to talk about what the leaves say, then offer a prayer of thanksgiving to our very generous and loving God.
[Seven Day Option: Use the same leaves but attach them to a small foam wreath. Glue or tape a string to the top of the wreath so it can hang.]
We have so much to be thankful for, and we are indeed so blessed. We only need to take off the blinders Satan puts on us and see that God longs and yearns to bless us. And, He’s been doing it since the beginning of time. Jesus’ death on the cross is the evidence.
How has God blessed you? In what ways to remind yourself of it? Share your ideas with us! The more we realize how blessed we are, the more joy we’ll have. Let’s spread the love!