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God’s Blessings

Posted on 19 Feb 2023

February 19, 2023

Genesis 12:1-7

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


Moses discovered God speaks to us in ordinary places and moments.  Elijah learned to trust God’s still speaking voice, even when God’s plan did not make sense at first.  Joseph (and Pharaoh) heard God speaking to them through their dreams, in those moments when we are most vulnerable and open.

They are not the only people who experienced God’s presence in their lives though.  God also was present and real in Jacob’s life, showing Jacob that being real and honest with God brings real blessings into our lives.  And then there was Mary Magdalene and the Apostle Paul, people who experienced God through Jesus the Christ and discovered that sometimes to know God’s presence in our lives, to let God in, we need to let go of our anger, our fear, our desire for control, everything that creates walls and blocks God from our hearts and lives.

Throughout these past weeks, we have heard the stories of Biblical people who had real experiences with God, and their stories have inspired us to be aware of how God is also present in our lives and can be more present, if we expect God everywhere; if we listen for God’s voice while waking or sleeping; if we trust God and are willing to be open, honest and real with God and to let go of anything and everything that keeps us from God and God’s love.

That’s a lot, and Abram and Sarai, who became Abraham and Sarah, were called by God to do all of that.  God appeared to Abram and said, ‘Go from your country and your family and the home you have always known.  Leave behind all that is familiar to travel to the land I will show you.’

As far as we know, this is Abram’s first experience with God.  His great-great-great, etc grandfather had been Noah, who God had faithfully guided in building the ark; however we have no stories of God appearing to any of the generations in between Noah and Abram.  So did these stories of experiencing God just not make it into the Bible or did God’s people put up walls that kept them from hearing God?  Did Abram expect God to show up in his life?  Did Abram know that God speaks to us in our waking and sleeping moments?

Whatever Abram expected before this moment, whatever he knew, when God appeared to Abram and told him, ‘Leave behind everything that is familiar and go to this new place’, Abram listened.  Abram listened to God’s still speaking voice and let go of everything he had known, everything that was comfortable and familiar, to follow God, to be with God.

Sometimes, you don’t have to be told, you just know what God’s voice sounds like.  You just know how God is leading you.  This was one of those moments in Abram’s life, when he was totally open to God, when he was completely real, when he absolutely trusted God and like the others we have heard about, Abram was blessed.

Abraham and Sarah were blessed with a child, with grandchildren.  They were blessed with a new home in the Promised Land.  And more than any of those blessings, they were blessed with purpose, with meaning.  They left behind what was likely a very comfortable, wonderful life that I am sure was filled with God’s blessings.  They left all of that behind for a life in which they would be God’s blessings.

Their journey was a physical one in which they traveled from Haran to Canaan, the Promised Land.  And their journey was a spiritual one, in which they were changed, transformed, into people who opened themselves up to God and came to understand themselves, not only as recipients of God’s blessings, also as instruments of God’s blessings.

Their eyes were opened to how God was speaking to them, and their hearts were opened to how God was going to use them, use them to bless others.

The same is true of Moses, Elijah, Joseph, Jacob, Paul, Mary Magdalene and countless other people of faith.  Being open to God, expecting God to guide us, in the ordinary and extraordinary moments, brings an incredible sense of wholeness, of rightness, of peace into our lives.  It also gives meaning to our lives.  It gives us direction and purpose.

Before Moses noticed God’s spirit moving in his life, he was hiding out in the wilderness.  Paul was hiding out in his fear and anger.  Joseph was in jail.  Jacob was superficially going through life, always looking for the next angle.  Mary Magdalene was held captive by seven demons, and Elijah, oh Elijah was wallowing in self-pity.  All of these people were stuck, and God came into their lives and unstuck them.  Unstuck them by blessing them with purpose and direction; blessed them by calling them to be a blessing to others.

People get stuck, and churches get stuck, too.  We can hide out from reality.  We can wallow in self-pity.  Wrap ourselves in anger and fear.  We can spend a lot of time being captive to ‘what about me, why doesn’t anyone do enough for me’ thoughts.  We can feel overwhelmed and justify the myriad of ways we self-soothe even when they don’t actually soothe.

We get stuck, and block by block, we can create a wall that blocks God out of our lives, a wall that cuts us off from our Creator, our source of life and love, peace and joy.

God wants to bless you.  God wants to bless you by loving you, by guiding you, by being with you. God wants to bless you with meaning and purpose, with being a blessing to others.

The people of faith we hear about in the Bible were all called by God to be a blessing.  Their callings are really significant and can feel a bit overwhelming.  We might not feel ready to leave our homes, our families, all that is comfortable and familiar, to journey to a new place and be a blessing, and rest assured, that might not be the purpose God has in mind for you.

You likely are already fulfilling your purpose.  You are blessing the world as a parent, partner, caretaker, neighbor, friend.  You are blessing the world by volunteering your time and sharing your money.  And day by day, as you read a book or news article, watch a movie or hear about world events, day by day, as you open yourself up to God’s presence and God’s still speaking voice, you may discover God calling you in a new direction or to fulfill your purpose in a new way.

The other day, my Fitbit reminded me it was time to get walking.  I looked out at the rainy day and at the open lid of our recycle container, and instead of getting my steps in the house, I went outside and closed the lids for my neighbors’ recycling containers.  Not a big deal.  Maybe even an act of service my neighbors will never even realize I did.  It was a call from God though to be a blessing, a simple blessing.

Our lives are better for God’s presence in them.  There is a sense of wholeness, a sense of rightness that comes from walking this journey of life and faith with God by our side.

The Christian life, a life of faith, a life with God, is about more than knowing God’s presence in our lives so we can feel good, so we can be blessed.  Being aware of God’s presence in our lives, listening to God and trusting God also blesses our lives with direction, with purpose and meaning.

You, we, are God’s beloved children.  God is real.  God loves you, and God wants to bless you with God’s presence; bless you with God’s still speaking voice; bless you with wholeness and peace; and perhaps most of all, God wants to bless you with purpose and meaning.  God wants you to be a blessing to others, God’s blessing to the world.