I am sharing three words that will help you better understand the Bible. These three words hold the story of the Bible together and keeping them in mind will prevent us from reading the Bible in a haphazard, random way. The three words are son, land, and blessing. Today I want to share with you the final word of the three. It is the word “blessing.”
The word translated “blessing” in the Old Testament basically means to “make one happy.” It is one of the most common words in the Old Testament. It occurs 422 times. God loves to bless. He wants us to be happy.
The root of our happiness is in our enjoyment of God. This is what is implied in the word “rest” used in Gen. 2:1. The word translated “rest” is the Hebrew word “shabbat” from which we get the idea of sabbath. It does not mean that God was exhausted after six days of creating work, but rather that God had brought the project to a satisfying end. God was not tired, he was happy. God’s rest does not imply that there was no more work to be done. Man was created to work the ground (Gen. 2:5). In God’s original design man’s work would be satisfying. Working the earth would make him happy.
It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to figure out that between then and now, something went horribly wrong. Life is far from satisfying.
The Biblical text may be full of blessing but life is full of loss. Even our best days are insecure. While we do experience enjoyable moments, we know in each moment we are vulnerable and things can change quickly. We agree with God. We want to be happy, but happy can be hard to hold on to.
Happy can also be hard to believe. If life is such a mess, is it honest to say that God wants us to be happy? The truth is that God was the only one who was honest that if we rebelled against him, life would be less than happy. He told us we would “surely” die (Gen. 2:17). Life is essentially living out the “surely.” If there is birth there will be death. In between birth and death there is “surely.” Surely can be no happy thing.
In the midst of living life in “surely” there is an important plot; God is determined to bring someone back to blessing. He seeks to restore “rest (Heb. 4).” God still wants us to be happy. This is the story of the Bible. How is God working to bring us back to happiness (Rev. 21-22)? In Gen. 12:1-3 God promised a man named Abram that something would happen in his family that would be a blessing to every family of the earth. As you read the Bible between Gen. 12 and Rev. 22 you are essentially reading the story of Abram’s family. It is the battle for the blessing. It is a precarious journey towards “rest.”
Abram was promised a SON, a LAND, and a BLESSING (Gen. 12:1-3). These three words drive the text of the Bible. What must God do to keep His promise?
As you read the Bible watch how God is faithful to keep His promises despite mankind’s unfaithfulness. God is not satisfied with the world as it is. He is determined to bring us back to a place of blessing where we will enjoy Him forever.