Allen Jackson - Anointing And Blessing - Part 2
It's an honor to be with you again. We're continuing our study on strategies, tactics, and an unseen enemy. In this session, we're going to talk specifically about anointing and blessings. We don't have to chase the blessings of God. We don't have to pursue them or beg him for them. If we will focus on pleasing the Lord, walking uprightly before him, his blessings, the Bible says, will come on us and overtake us. I love the imagery of that. You can't outrun God's blessings. No matter how hard you hide, his blessings will find you. Don't worry about God fulfilling his Word. If you and I will walk uprightly before him, his goodness will write our future story. Now, that's a promise worth understanding. Grab your Bible and a notepad. Most importantly, open your heart.
See, one of the things we've got to do is come past our anger and resentment and bitterness and hurt and hate. We have a culture that is being... to too great of an extent being driven by hate merchants trying to make us angry, a divisive spirit looking for offenses. Later in his life, Joseph when he sees his brother they're all adults. Circumstances have changed, and he looks at his brothers and he said, "God sent me ahead of you here. You shouldn't carry any anxiety. God sent me here". Well, he may have, but his brothers are the one that collected the cash payment and in the midst of that Joseph was blessed. Is it possible that in the midst of disappointment and brokenness and betrayal and rejection and a whole host of other very, very difficult things, is it possible that you could see the blessing of God?
See, we have to be willing to follow the Lord's invitations in our lives and not simply demand that God do my bidding. I've walked far enough along this path to understand that God will lead us. He's the author and the completer of our story; but some of us are so determined to have our way and our dreams fulfilled, that our plans come to fruition that we spend way too much of our lives angry and embittered and hate-filled. Is it possible that you could be disappointed and blessed? Could you face discouragement and be blessed? Could you be betrayed and be blessed? I believe you could. I like Proverbs 10. I put it in here. It's a whole another, it would have to be a session unto itself. It says, "The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it".
I love the imagery that the blessing of the Lord brings something with it. The blessing of the Lord brings things to your life. You see, you don't have to chase the blessings of God. You don't have to pursue them. You don't have to get up every morning and say, "God, bless me, Bless me". You don't have to learn the secret formula or the special sauce. If you will understand the character God invites you to cultivate, his blessings will come on you and overtake you. His blessings will track you down. You can't avoid them. He will bless you into weariness. It's called an abundant harvest.
If you've never been around agricultural stuff, you know, we put a little strawberry patch when I was a kid years ago. My grandmother sent me strawberry plants in a shoebox. It was a pretty minor project at the beginning, but 3 or 4 years into that thing it had filled a lot of space. And strawberries are fun for about 90 minutes, but those suckers keep growing for 2 or 3 weeks you think you're going to turn red. You're tired of picking them and giving them to your friends. Let your friends come get their own strawberries. "Wouldn't you like to pick some strawberries for your friends"? No, actually not. Couldn't say that. They read that spare the rod thing at our house. The blessings of the Lord bring things to you. God will bless you into weariness. Wouldn't that be good?
Kingdom opportunities. More people that wants you to pray for them. You let it be known that you have compassion for people and that you believe God will intervene in their lives and you have the courage to use your voice to say that and begin to extend those invitations to people around you, your life will get busy. Well, there'll be people make fun of you and you'll get dropped off some lists and you'll lose a business deal or a friend or two. Yes, you will, but you'll make a difference for the kingdom of God. Blessings and obedience go together. You can't have the blessings if you don't choose obedience. Deuteronomy 6 and verse 3, "Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you".
God promised the Hebrew slaves way back in Egypt that, "I'm going to take you out of the brick pits of Egypt and take you to a land that flows with milk and honey". But you need the rest of the story. It's a conditional promise. You can't be ungodly. You can't be unconcerned about God. You can't not care about God. You can't relegate God to some tertiary role in your life and expect to continue in the land of milk and honey. It was true for the Hebrew slaves, and it's true for God's people in the 21st century. And it's the shema. Shema is the Hebrew word to hear. It's one of the most recited prayers in Scripture. "Hear, O Lord the LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home. When you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up".
That pretty much encompasses your life. When you're at home, when you're not at home, when you sit, or when you walk, talk about this stuff with your families. "Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them to your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates". The Jewish people have taken that very literally. They put the mezuzahs on the doorframe of their houses, and you'll see the Orthodox with the Scriptures on their foreheads and bound to their hands and their arms. But the heart of it is the conversation with your family. Your faith starts at the kitchen table. They have to have the courage to bring God's truth to bear.
Listen to what's happening in your children's lives. Give them a faith perspective. Help them understand our world. There will be teachers roll up into their lives that will say to them that, the teacher will announce to your children that they are there to redirect their faith, that you haven't trained them appropriately, that church hasn't trained them appropriately; and that teacher is going to construct a more appropriate faith for them. I've been in those classes myself. That's not like a new thing. That's not some post-COVID invention of a teacher's union. I heard that baloney in a seminary setting. Your kids need to know that you know God, that they can trust the way you know God. They need to hear you have that conversation, that it's a part of who you are so that their respect for you and love for you and understanding of who you are is inseparable from that faith in you.
We want to please God in his household. It's not easy, but we intend to do that. We want to help you learn to do that. It will make your life better. God will bless you. He'll give you a better future. He'll secure your future. It's more important than their sophistication in the social media. There's lots of voices encouraging them around that. Folks, we've been derelict. I love you and we're in this together, but that's our reality. We got in this fine mess because we haven't cared enough about it. We just didn't think it was that important. Deuteronomy 28, the first 14 verses of that chapter are a recitation enumerating the blessings that God gave to Abraham.
Now, it's relevant to you and me because in Jesus they come to our lives, too. So this isn't just Old Testament stuff. Deuteronomy 28, look at verse 1. "If you fully obey the LORD your God and you carefully follow all his commands, the LORD your God will set you on high above all nations on earth, and all these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God". Verse 2 is important. These blessings will come upon you. They will overtake you. You don't have to seek blessings. Seek God. His blessings will seek you. "God, what's it look like for me to be upright person in the marketplace these days? What's a fair profit look like? What's it look like for me to deliver a good day's work for a fair day's wage? What's it look like for me to lead as a person of integrity and not capitulate to an immoral culture"? It's important. "God, I want to please you. I want to walk uprightly before you".
If you don't have the intent to do that, I'll help you. You're not. It's not an accidental posture. Say, "I don't know how to do it". Begin to say to the Lord, "I'd like to do it. Help me learn". He will. He will. Stop showing God your bulletin or your sermon outline from the weekend and imagine that that transforms us into Christ followers. We need a body of Christ that is alive and vibrant and strong. And as much as I would imagine God would call somebody else, he seems to have picked us. Huh? What an honor. What a privilege we have. All these blessings will come upon you. They will accompany you if you will obey the Lord your God. "You will be blessed in the city and in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed. The crops of your land and the young of your livestock. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You'll be blessed when you come in. You'll be blessed when you go out".
You get the idea. Blessing here, blessing there. Lots of blessings. You can't avoid the blessings of God if you choose to be obedient. How is it that we have imagined, somebody's convinced us that obedience to God is kind of difficult, right? How many of you have had that notion, that if you ever really like gave your heart fully to the Lord he's going to take everything away from you? He'll take all your joy and all your fun, all your pleasure. All you'll ever get to eat is broccoli and tuna. That's not the Scripture. God says, "Listen, if you'll obey me, I will rock your world". Verse 7, "The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They'll come at you one way, but they'll flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns, everything you put your hand to. He'll bless you in the land he's giving you".
See, I can tell you one of the challenges for me as a family when we were all still living at home, that's been a while. My parents would give us summer spiritual, when we were out of school, they'd give us some spiritual project for the summer. I don't know. We would fast and pray about something. Well, one summer we memorized Deuteronomy 28, those first 14 verses, and we would say them together and we would, it just became a part of the dialogue around our house. I can tell you as a matter of fact it didn't mean that every week or every month after that that our lives were just filled with the triumph of God. We walked through some difficult seasons and through some broken places, with heartaches and heartbreaks and some real challenges and all the things that come with life.
But I have the privilege of a vantage point with a few more years added on, and I have to tell you that God has been faithful to his Word in our lives. You see, we try God on for like 48 hours and we go, "I knew it didn't work. I read that verse once a day for 2 days. That person I work with is still mean". We want God to eliminate all the angst from it. That isn't the promise. He didn't do that in Joseph's life. He didn't do it in Abraham's life. He didn't do it in Paul's life. He didn't do it in Jesus's life. But in the midst of a broken world, in the midst of a sin-filled world, in the midst of a world system that stands in opposition to the purposes of God, there are tools available to help you navigate a triumphant course. It's worth cultivating your familiarity with those tools.
If I just summarize those blessings, I can do it in a handful of words. God said he will bring exaltation to your life. He'll bring health to your life. He'll bring reproductiveness to your life. Not just to you, but to all the things around you that describe your life. Prosperity. It's very clear, we'll look at it in more detail, that prosperity is a blessing and poverty is a curse. Prosperity doesn't come from the government, folks. And when they promise you that, they are lying to you. They're trying to get you to trade your freedom and your liberty for something. Don't take the bait. The blessings will bring victory to your life, God's favor to your life. Yeah, I want God to think I'm special. I'm just weird that way. I've got a little sign in my office that says Jesus loves you, but I'm his favorite. I'm just going to break it to you in public. I know it's unfair, but you're in church. The Lord will help you through.
I want to wrap up. Jesus gives us an application of this in John 13. That phrase that by now you know well, Jesus starts this with, "I tell you the truth". You know he's coming with something out of left field, right? "I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if..." You need to circle that little preposition "if". You will be blessed if you do them. Not if you know about them, not if you say you believe in them, not if you say you read them, but if you do them. If you put them into practice, he said there will be a blessing come to you. Now, I wanted you to see it because this was Jesus's teaching, and very clearly this notion of a blessing is a New Testament idea just as certainly as it's an Old Testament idea. You'll be blessed if you do them.
Please hear what Jesus said. Obedience is a New Testament idea as well. This has kind of gotten lost in the weeds. We get focused on being born again and we think we don't have to be obedient anymore 'cause forgiveness is like an easy lever pull. We can be ungodly and immoral and wicked and selfish and filled with pride and envy and covetousness and greed, and we think we can kind of cackle and go, "Oh, I'm sorry". It's a false gospel, and we forfeited too much. We have to have a desire to honor the Lord. We have to cultivate that. It's not intuitive. It's not natural. Some days it's not easy. It's not easy if you're a preacher. It's not easy if you're young. It's not any easier when you're old. I haven't found a life seasoned yet that just makes it easier to honor the Lord.
In every stage of life thus far, I have found many excuses to choose selfishness and ungodliness. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. No servant is greater than his master". That's a very, very important principle. The significance of your life will be determined, the limits of your life will be determined by whomever or whatever you choose as a master. Whatever you choose to serve sets the ceiling for your life. If you choose to honor the Lord, then the creator of heaven and earth becomes the only limit on your potential. If you choose this present world order and the things that it offers, then those things become the ceiling of your life. If you choose money, "I want to get as much as I can," can all I get and sit on the can. I'm not opposed to resources. They make life better.
If yours bothers you, bring them to me. I will help you. But I don't intend to trade my life for them or my character for them or my future for them. Some people choose pleasure. "If it makes me happy, I'll do it. I got to be wrong if it makes me happy". It could very easily be wrong. Selfish ambition. You are limited to time if you choose those things. And when your time runs out, what you've chosen to serve will no longer bring a benefit. Let's decide to serve the Lord. If you serve God through obedience, your rewards are far more dynamic both in time and for all eternity. Let's decide to walk a path of obedience that the blessings of God might be what designs our future. And then no matter what comes, no matter what shaking comes to the earth, no matter what turmoil comes, no matter what the markets do, no matter whatever, we trust the Lord to make a pathway for us.
He can deliver us from the brick pits. He can part the ocean. He can bring manna to us in the desert or water from the rock or turn our enemies back. He'll provide the leadership we need. He is faithful. Let's honor him, church. Let's begin to invite him into our lives. Get your anointing oil out. Pray for one another. That's more important than the birthday gifts, is the birthday blessing. It's more important than where your kids are going to have their special party and invite all their, I'm not opposed to that. That's great. But teach them the value of an anointing and a blessing from God. It doesn't have to be an either/or proposition, but they will catch their enthusiasm from it from you. Their other friends will bring the momentum around all the other stuff. You're going to have to take point on teaching them the things of God, and here's the awkward part. We don't feel godly. We really don't.
How many days do you get up, look in the mirror, and go, "Oh, I just feel so holy today. I don't know if I can go to work. This holiness thing has just, like, enveloped me. I'm just a little, I'm going to get to work. I'm going to be glowing in the dark. It's going to be distractive to the people around me". Yeah. Me, either. Me, either. But I have to say, "Lord, I want to honor you today. I'd like to be pleasing to you. I'd like to understand what it means to be obedient".
I'll get to the end of my day, I'll do a little bit of a review and I'll be willing to say, "I'm sorry. I didn't do well with that. I avoided those opportunities when I could have prayed for my friend or I could have mentioned that I know who Jesus is and I'm sorry about that. Next time I'd like to do better if you'd help me with that". Maybe before you walk in the door at the end of the day you say, "Father, I thank you for my family". Maybe when you would leave the house with them, "God, I thank you that you have blessed me with this family". Folks, all of our families have pressures and stresses. We've got to bring God back into them.
It is so important. We all recognize we need change. We got a border that's open and destruction is pouring across it. We have cartels that are fueled by evil itself, preying on children and trafficking children and illicit drugs and we're just too busy to pay any attention to it. We think we're powerless. We're not powerless. Start at your kitchen table and say, "This is where God has given me authority, and I will see to it that he's invited into this arena". See, if we will do that, I promise you if you'll begin to do that with humility and all the brokenness that comes with who we are, God will expand your influence. Then your kids will take a walk. Prodigals, it's a part of the package. I mean, Joseph's brothers, his pride, "I dreamt last night that you all worshiped me". You know, he could have just kept that to himself. I want to close with a benediction. It's a fancy word for a conclusion.
In 2 Chronicles 30 and verse 27, said, "The priest and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place". And I'd like to conclude this session with a blessing on your life, if you'll allow me. If you'll receive it in humility and obedience, my prayer is that it will reach God's attention. Why don't you stand with me for that? I gave it to you 'cause you can use it yourself. You can take a blessing to work or you can take a blessing home. You can take a blessing to Mother's Day. It's not mine. I borrowed it from a Scripture you've already read, but it's worth repeating.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. Amen.